A chapter in a remarkable art fraud came to an end this week, when a dealer from Long Island was sentenced to time served. She could have been sentenced to over 15 years in prison, but will only be subject to 3 years of supervision with the first 3 months of home detention. The fraud involved over $80 million dollars and brought down the venerable art dealer, Knoedler&Co.
The dealer, Glafira Rosales, who is 60, was able to keep the scheme alive for over 15 years. The fake works were painted by a Chinese immigrant who was adept at copying various styles of artists such as Jackson Pollack, Willem De Kooning and Mark Rothko. The copier, Pei-Shen Qian, has since fled to China as has Ms. Rosales’ former boyfriend, Jose Diaz, who fled to Spain. Mr. Diaz’ extradition has been stymied.
Pei-Shen Qian said he was “stunned’ so many people were fooled by his work
Clyfford fake painting
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The fraud came to light when Domenico De Sole, the former chairman of Gucci and present chairman of Sotheby’s sued Knoedler over his purchase of a fake Mark Rothko painting that he had purchased for over $8 million.
The lenient sentence was granted on the basis that Mr. Diaz was the mastermind of the fraud and he physically abused Ms. Rosales. On the surface one can wonder if she got off lightly.