Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Comedian Steve Martin a victim of fake-art scams

There's one thing the multi-talented Steve Martin has been a dismal failure at .... buying art. The actor/comedian has a track record of purchasing fakes.

Is there no end to Steve Martin's talents? Not only is the silver fox a successful comedian and actor, but he's shown considerable skills as a playwright, pianist, banjo player and juggler. And it has now emerged that he's also rather adept at accidentally buying forged artwork.

According to Der Spiegel, it seems that Martin has unwittingly found himself in the midst of Germany's biggest art scandal, being one of many duped into buying forged work from a gang arrested by police last year.

His leap into the murky world of artistic knock-offs came in 2004 when he purchased the painting Landscape With Horses by the German-Dutch modernist Heinrich Campendonk from the Cazeau-Beraudiere gallery in Paris. Only he didn't purchase Landscape With Horses, but a rather good fake, something that was revealed after he sold it again at auction in 2006.

"The fakers were quite clever in that they gave it a long provenance and they faked labels, and it came out of a collection that mingled legitimate pictures with faked pictures," Martin told The New York Times, adding that he'd unwittingly bought fakes in the past. "You have to guard against it."

While Martin is not accused of any wrongdoing, he's still significantly out of pocket, having bought the painting for $850,000 (Dh3.1 million) and sold it for just $500,000.

Perhaps he should stick to the acting, the banjo, the piano, the juggling and the playwriting.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National