Museum Workers Replaced Priceless Artwork With Fakes, Then Sold the Originals

The convicted have been sentenced to 8-9 years in prison.

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Stealing art from a museum is no easy feat. It takes people with brains and real guts to pull off an art heist, and even then it's difficult not to get caught. Such was the case of several workers at the Uzbek State Art Museum, who were found guilty of replacing artwork with forgeries and selling the original art... Evidently, the fakes weren't that convincing—although the museum's employees got away with their crime for 15 years, they were caught after people began questioning the authenticity of some of works displayed inside the museum.

Mirfayz Usmonov, who is the chief curator of the museum, received a nine-year sentence, while two restorers were sentenced to 8 years each.

They sold artwork by Russian and Soviet avant-garde artists and some by European artists, including Italian Renaissance artist Lorenzo di Credi. While criminals usually make millions selling art on the black market, the works from the Uzbek State Art Museum were sold for between €80-650, which is only $100-810 USD. "These incredibly low prices at which the museum staff sold off the artworks demonstrates the desperation of those involved and exposes the problems facing the impoverished former Soviet satellite state," ArtNet News added

Click here to read the original report by the Guardian.

[via ArtNet News]

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