Meet Wolfgang Beltracchi: The Most Famous Art Forger in History

There’s a fine line between genius and madman. It’s tough to say where Wolfgang Beltracchi falls, but all we can say is that the man can paint. But here’s the thing: he paints other painters’ paintings (Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, to name a few) and sells them as originals. He’s made millions selling his forged artwork. One of his pieces hung in a show at the Metropolitan Museum, and even the actor/comedian Steve Martin bought one of his fake paintings.

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Helene Beltracchi, Wolfgang Beltracchi. Photo By People Picture/Willi Schneider/Shutterstock

Others have sold in the six figures. So what’s his story? How did a self-described German hippie (and his wife) pull off one of the biggest and most profitable cons in art world history? And, maybe even more interestingly, after nearly four decades, how did he get caught?

You should know that Beltracchi’s story is even more unusual than his hippy appearance would suggest…

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