Over 35 years, Wolfgang Beltracchi had painted paintings in the style of famous painters and together with his wife Helene Beltracchi, they had infiltrated them as works of those artists on the international art market and collected up to single-digit million per picture. Concerning the false provenances Beltracchi had, among other things, claimed that these pictures were from a, in reality non-existent “collection Werner Jäger” or a similarly bogus “collection of Wilhelm Knop” (Werner Jäger was the grandfather of Helene Beltracchi).

For decades the forgeries were not noticed and had been sold through prestigious auction houses and galleries worldwide. In 2010 the investigations by the department of public prosecution in Cologne began. In October 2011, Wolfgang Beltracchi was sentenced to 6 years in prison and his wife was sentenced to 4 years.
From a penal perspective Beltracchis works are described as forgeries. From an artistic point of view each painting is an independent, original work.

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