Noted Berlin Art Dealer Arrested After Allegedly Selling Fake Painting: Report

'East is Red' by Zou Cao at the Galerie Michael Schultz booth at Art Cologne in 2012

‘East is Red’ by Zou Cao at the Galerie Michael Schultz booth at Art Cologne in 2012.


After allegedly attempting to peddle a fake painting, an important German art dealer was arrested earlier this month.

Prominent Berlin dealer Michael Schultz was taken in by authorities at his Charlottenburg apartment, according to the German publication Der Tagesspiegel. Investigators arrested him on suspicion that he may have been selling high-value artworks with counterfeit certificates—and possibly even defrauding collectors as part of the scheme. Authorities also said the dealer, who ran an eponymous gallery in the German capital that shuttered earlier this year, had failed to deliver other works after payment.

The arrest came after authorities discovered what they said was a fake artwork attributed to an artist who was not named in the Der Tagesspiegel report. Schultz had previously owned the work, and was trying to sell it at an unidentified auction house. A collector then purchased it from the house. The report said that, after the artist was contacted, it was determined that the painting was not authentic.

According to the German press agency DPA, the 67-year-old dealer was not imprisoned because of his poor health, but he must regularly check in with authorities before the investigation concludes. 

Galerie Michael Schultz was an international operation, at one point running four galleries on two continents, with outposts in Germany and South Korea. His gallery program had a focus on German painting and international contemporary painting and sculpture, and past shows included works by Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Anselm Kiefer, and other giants from the country. The gallery was a regular at art fairs such as Art Cologne, Art Basel, and the Armory Show in New York.

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