A so-called Marquis Victor von Saloschin has failed to sell some 56 forged German Expressionist works after these were exhibited in American universities, British justice sources said.
These works were part of a collection which were supposedly whisked away from Nazi Germany before World War Two and a group of Irish financiers had also invested some US $ 3,2 million in a collection of old masters (Rembrandt, Reynolds, Rubens among others) which were also forgeries about to be sold in Malaysia, a London court was told.
A former art dealer named Bryn Lloyd Williams, was convicted of fraud after he had approached several American universities to organise an exhibition of Expressionist paintings and drawings worth US $ 3,2 million. He had informed them that his goal was to strengthen ties between the U.S and Europe but when the roving exhibition of the Saloschin collection came to Illinois in 1993, a Chicago dealer expressed surprise regarding the fact that these works had never been listed in any publication on German Expressionism. The dealer then questioned their provenance and an ensuing investigation revealed that these works were not genuine.
The collection was seized and investigators said that only two minor drawings were authentic Expressionist works. They also discovered that the so-called Marquis, a close friend of Williams, was an impostor named Saunders.
The U.S exhibitions were in fact aimed at ensuring a pedigree for the collection while a group of Irish investors had already spent some US $ 200,000 in order to have some of the works reproduced for commercial purposes.
Williams also intended to sell at least 25 paintings from the so-called Saloschin collection for some US $ 10 million to the clients of a Malaysian law office while their face value did not exceed US $ 9,000.