A Chinese immigrant from Woodhaven was reportedly the artist behind a multimillion-dollar scam where fake paintings were pawned off to galleries as original works.
Pei-Shen Qian, 73, was known to his neighbors on 95th Street as a “struggling artist,” according to the New York Times. But they didn’t realize that in his garage he was allegedly creating dozens of paintings and drawings that were passed off as pieces by Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and other artistic bigwigs.
Though the works were sold for more than $80 million, Qian was allegedly paid less than $75,000 for creating the fakes, according to CBS New York.
New York art dealer Glafira Rosales of Sands Point, Long Island, who is suspected of selling the faux art pieces from 1994 through 2009, reportedly pleaded not guilty in connection to the scheme on Monday. More arrests are expected.
Neighbors told the New York Times that Qian hasn’t been charged with a crime, and after the FBI searched his home last week, he went to China.
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