Art fake 'genius' gets six years

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The Independent Online
JOHN DREWE, the man who masterminded the biggest fraud in contemporary art this century, was jailed yesterday for six years. His accomplice, John Myatt, the artist who faked the works of leading painters using lubricating jelly and household emulsion, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.

Drewe flooded the international art markets with works in the style of Alberto Giacometti, Ben Nicholson, Jean Dubuffet and Nicholas de Stael.

He went to extraordinary lengths to provide histories, or provenances, for these "non- existent" works.

The 50-year-old Drewe, who claimed he was a nuclear physicist, was found guilty last week of organising a scheme of such complexity that, over 10 years, he took in some of the country's leading galleries and art houses, including the Tate, Sotheby's and Christie's.

The scheme began when Drewe answered an advert in Private Eye magazine, which had been placed by Myatt. Having produced the paintings, Drewe set about altering the archives of a series of galleries including the Tate and the Victoria and Albert museum.

Myatt turned Queen's Evidence. The prosecution had always accepted that he was the lesser partner.