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Alberto Giacometti

Fake Giacometti furniture trial ends with jail sentences and fines for Jacques Redoutey and suppliers

Experts complain that large number of fakes in the market makes it difficult to identify authentic works

Judgement was pronounced on 20 December on the parties involved in the production and sale of fake and unauthorized Diego Giacometti furniture (see The Art Newspaper No. 14, Jan 1992, p.1). Judge Martin Saint-Léon sentenced Jacques Redoutey to two year’s jail sentence to begin immediately. David Bernstein of the Panamian-registered Worms Corporation, supplier of numerous pieces to the New York auction rooms, was also given two years, pending the appeal to be heard in May. Others condemned to terms of imprisonment include Lydie Cadeac d’Arbaud who received a two year sentence (including eighteen months suspended) for supplying twenty pieces for subsequent sale. Sizeable fines and damages were imposed, including FFr1.5 million from the Worms Corporation and an award of FFr1 million to the heirs of Giacometti. In his five-page judgement Judge Saint-Léon estimated that ninety-five per cent of works sold as by Diego Giacometti in London auction houses were fake and seventy-five per cent of the total sold in New York.

The auction houses’ reaction to the verdicts has naturally been cautious. A Christie’s London spokeswoman said that they were endeavouring to obtain transcripts of the proceedings from France and would refrain from comment until after the appeal. A Sotheby’s spokeswoman said that there was now felt to be considerable confusion as to how to distinguish a fake piece from a genuine one and that the company would be actively seeking this information from the trial proceedings and elsewhere. Meanwhile in Dijon Inspecteur Vincenot continues to compile his dossier on vendors and purchasers of Giacometti furniture.

• Originally appeared as "Giacometti trial verdicts: jail sentences for Redoutey and his suppliers"