WIESBADEN, Germany, March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
More than 1,800 works seized by German authorities in 2013, amid investigations into forgery rings operating throughout Europe, have been confirmed as genuine, following an extensive five-year investigation into their authenticity.
The collection, including works by Kasimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin and Natalia Goncharova, have now been returned to renowned collector Itzhak Zarug after a thorough examination by the German police and more than 10 expert witnesses. The investigation declared that all allegations of forgery were unsubstantiated, lifting a damaging taint on the value and prestige of the Zarug collection.
German state prosecutors leading the investigation first withdrew the central indictments on 7th February 2018, a U-turn which was reaffirmed in today's judgement.
Mr Zarug was arrested in June 2013 following raids on his apartments and galleries amid investigations into an alleged international art forgery ring. All allegations have now been dismissed in the face of overwhelming evidence which both exonerates Mr Zarug, accepts his collection as genuine, and rejects the existence of an international art forgery ring.
During the trial, the German courts heard incontrovertible scientific evidence following extensive scientific and art-historical analysis. The German authorities also requested assistance from authorities and experts in Israel, France Spain, Switzerland and the UK, with each country undertaking their own investigation in the Zarug collection and finding no fault.
This included verification from leading independent art authenticators, following careful analysis and chemical testing. Two of the experts involved in this case were Dr Erhard Jägers, a leading chemist, specialising in the analysis of works of art and a director of the Microanalytical Laboratory in Borheim, Germany, as well as distinguished Russian avant-garde scholar and President of the International Chamber of Russian Modernism, Dr Patricia Railing.
Speaking today, Mr Zarug said:
"Reason and justice have prevailed, and my pictures can at last be enjoyed without suspicion or concern. I am pleased that the allegations against me and against my pictures have been proven to be unfounded.
We wish to thank the German authorities for the diligence, objectivity and intensity of their investigation into my collection. The degree of thorough scientific and historical analysis can leave no doubt that these paintings are true and genuine masterpieces of the Russian avant-garde."
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