The strange case of the $11 million sculpture

One of these is the real Mr. Ramnarine.

Brian Ramnarine owns a foundry in Long Island City, New York that casts artwork for sculptors.

Years ago, the well-known artist Jasper Johns used Mr. Ramnarine to make a wax cast of a mold of one of Mr. John's sculptures, a bronze flag.

He also gave Mr. Ramnarine one of the sculptures as a gift.

In 2010, Mr. Ramnarine decided to sell the sculpture for $11 million. The sculpture was signed on the back, and he had all the necessary paperwork to prove that Mr. Johns had given him the sculpture.

Except that none of it was true.

It's alleged that Mr. Ramnarine never returned the original mold to Mr. Johns, and he cast a duplicate sculpture, forged Jasper John's signature and created fake paperwork to prove he owned the work.

Evidently this was not the first time he had done this - in 2002 he'd been convicted of making copies of sculptures and selling them as real.

Since the sculpture was made from the same mold as the original, was the only difference the signature and the fake documents?

Except in this case the real sculpture was worth $11 million.

Mr. Ramnarine faces 20 years in prison.

I found a photo of Mr. Ramnarine on a New York Social Diary web page, where he posed while attending an exhibit at an art gallery.

The title at the top of the web page?

"Abstraction and the real thing"

- Authorities Cast Queens Foundry Owner as Forger, The New York Times>>
- New York Social Diary>>

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