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Steve Martin was a victim in German art forgery ring

May 31, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Martin Actor-writer Steve Martin has long been an avid art collector, having amassed works by modern masters in his personal trove. Now it turns out the star was duped by a forgery ring in Germany into buying a fake masterpiece several years ago.

Der Spiegel reported Tuesday that Martin purchased what he believed to be a 1915 work by the German-Dutch modernist artist Heinrich Campendonk. The painting, whose English title was "Landscape With Horses," was acquired by Martin in July 2004 from a Paris gallery for the price of approximately $850,000.

The report states that the fake Campendonk painting originated from either the "Knops" or "Jägers" art collections devised by a group of German forgers caught in 2010.

Martin ended up selling the painting in 2006 at a loss of a couple hundred thousand euros. The actor told the New York Times on Tuesday that he was unaware the painting was a forgery when he bought and later sold it.

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 -- David Ng

Photos, from top: Steve Martin. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

After the conversation with Dave Hickey, Martin signed copies of his novel "An Object of Beauty," including one for Matas Kulikauskas, 9, of South Pasadena. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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