Alleged Con Sells Fake Picasso to Buy a Real De Kooning

Pablo Picasso, La Femme au Chapeau Bleu, art forgery
A fabricated chalk drawing "La Femme au Chapeau Bleu" (1902) allegedly by Pablo Picasso was seized by the FBI. [Credit: FBI]
LOS ANGELES — An alleged con named Tatiana Khan could serve up to 45 years in federal prison for masterminding an art forgery scheme, according to a criminal complaint filed Jan. 7 by the FBI. Khan, the owner of the Chateau Allegré gallery in West Hollywood, is charged with paying an artist $1,000 to fabricate a 1902 Pablo Picasso pastel drawing entitled La Femme au Chapeau Bleu ("The Woman in the Blue Hat"); she then sold the piece to an unsuspecting art collector for $2 million.

The complaint maintains that Khan convinced an artist that the real Chapeau Bleu had been stolen from one of her clients and she needed a forgery drawn to be used in catching the thief. Khan later sold the fake for $2 million, by purportedly convincing an art collector that she was acting as a broker for the estate of late magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes. The art collector eventually contacted an expert who recognized the drawing as a copy.

The FBI reported that they also seized from Khan a painting by abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning, allegedly purchased with $720,000 of the proceeds derived from the sale of the fake Picasso drawing.


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