The Large Bathers - Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1887)
You're very rich, you have just ordered the Phoenix 1000 and are thinking about purchasing one of the 10 most expensive paintings, but, if you do so, you should know there is a chance you are buying a forgery. Actually, there's a study that shows that roughly half of the works of art sold throughout the world might be forged - 70% of Chagall's, 90% of Dali's and numerous van Gogh's. However, if the work of art is a Rembrandt, a Picasso or a Renoir, you should know the odds are even higher. And their forger is certainly Edgar Mrugalla.
Throughout his life, the German painter, who is currently 65 years old, has already forged about 3500 paintings by famous artists. He has painted every Rembrandt, Picasso, Renoir, Klimt, Macke and countless other artists, but never Dali. You see, Mrugalla didn't like the Spanish painter. He's a self-taught painter. He started out by copying famous paintings to learn how they had been painted. Quickly he discovered he had a notable ability, with oil, engraving (he did several copies of Rembrandt) and every other technique.
It is not known exactly when or how he started selling his work. What we know is that he did, and that that cost him two years in prison, in 1987. Paradoxically, he was released for having cooperated with the police to help unmask forgeries, his own as well as other artists', it is thought. Ironic.
In spite of what we think about his activity, it's impossible to look at Mrugalla's work without recognizing his talent. A man with the ability of getting himself inside the skin of such varied and different artists deserves to be admired for his genius. Why, then, must he dedicate himself to forgeries, instead of painting works of his own? Maybe he wasn't willing to wait for an uncertain praise as an author, or maybe he thought it would be easier to achieve a notoriety as a forger. A wasted talent, perhaps?
Copy of "Haus Im Garten" - 1914 (Auguste Macke)
Copy of "Der Engel verlässt die Familie des Tobias" - 1641 (Rembrandt)
Copy of a drawing by Egon Schiele
You can find more information at his personal webpage (in german).
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