Reveal News: Fancy galleries, fake art

Co-produced with PRX

January 25, 2020

© Reveal News

In the mid-’90s, two high-end New York art galleries began selling one fake painting after another – works in the style of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and others. It was the largest art fraud in modern U.S. history, totaling more than $80 million. Our first story looks at how it happened and why almost no one ever was punished by authorities.

Our second story revisits an investigation into a painting looted by the Nazis during World War II. More than half a century later, a journalist helped track it down through the Panama Papers.


Our story about the largest art fraud in modern U.S. history was reported and produced by Gisele Regatão with help from Janet Babin. It was edited by Brett Myers.

Our story about looted artwork was produced and reported by Emily Harris and edited by Susanne Reber.

Special thanks to Mark Scheffler, Miguel Macias, Victoria Burnett and Deborah Solomon for help with the story about art fraud. It was supported in part by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by the Professional Staff Congress and City University of New York. And thanks to Le Monde, NDR and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for production assistance with the looted artwork story and to CBC/Radio-Canada for partnering on the story.

Photo illustration by Brian Britigan for Reveal.

Our production manager is Mwende Hinojosa. Original score and sound design by Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda, who had help from Najib Aminy, Amy Mostafa, Sandra Lopez Monsalve, Claire Mullen, Katherine Rae Mondo and Cat Schuknecht. Hosted by Al Letson.

Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Heising-Simons FoundationDemocracy Fund, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.