It seems the issue of forgery is as relevant as ever in today's art world. A New York foundry owner accused of attempting to sell forged Jasper Johns artwork pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud on Monday, thus concluding a week-long trial attended by Johns himself, who testified against the counterfeiter.
59-year-old Brian Ramnarine admitted to creating and attempting to sell a counterfeit sculpture of Jasper John's iconic Flag painting as well as forged pieces of two other artists.
Turns out, Ramnarine had been a skilled metal caster back in the 1980s. Impressed, Johns gave Ramnarine the task of creating a wax mold of the Flag painting for a potential sculpture. Needless to say, Ramnarine not only kept the mold, but he made his own sculptures and attempted to sell them as Jasper Johns originals.
Ramnarine has struck a deal with the federal prosecutors, agreeing he would not challenge any sentence of 10 years or less in prison—which is little time compared to the 60 years people are sometimes charged for committing wire fraud. Lucky dude.