Actor Steve Martin was a victim of an art forgery operation that swindled buyers out of $48 million dollars, as reported by Der Spiegel
Martin bought the 1915 work by the German-Dutch modernist painter Heinrich Campendonk, “Landschaft mit Pferden,” or “Landscape With Horses,” in July 2004 at the Paris gallery Cazeau-Beraudiere, Der Spiegel reported.
Martin was an alleged victim of a ring of German con-artists – who allegedly sold forgeries of pieces from a collection that was hidden during the Nazi regime’s reign.
Spiegel reports that Martin’s painting, along with numerous others, are currently being investigated as members of the scamming group were arrested in 2010.
The group of con artists was led by Wolfgang Beltracchi, who investigators suspect created very convincing replicas of early 20th century paintings by Campendonk, Max Pechstein, Fernard Léger, Max Ernst and others.
Beltracci, along with his wife and her sister, told buyers that the paintings were uncovered in the estate of Werner Jägers, a businessman and grandfather of the suspect sisters. Another suspect, an artist and friend of Beltracci, offered a similar story that the paintings originated from the collection of his own grandfather.
Martin had the painting authenticated by a Campendonk expert before purchasing it from the Paris gallery according to Der Spiegel.