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West Hollywood antiques dealer accused of selling fake Picasso for $2 million

January 8, 2010 |  1:07 pm

Picasso A West Hollywood antiques dealer has been charged with selling a fake Picasso drawing for $2 million, officials from the U.S. attorney’s office said today.

Tatiana Khan, 69, owner of the Chateau Allegre gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, allegedly hired an artist to fabricate a 1902 pastel drawing by Picasso called “La Femme Au Chapeau Blue,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat.”

Khan allegedly told the artist that the real Picasso artwork had been stolen from one of Khan’s clients and that the dealer needed a copy to play a trick that would help catch the thief, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Khan paid the artist $1,000, the complaint alleged, and soon after Khan sold the drawing for $2 million, claiming that the painting came from the Malcolm Forbes family estate.

The purchaser became suspicious and contacted a Picasso expert, who concluded the drawing was fake. The FBI was brought in to investigate the case in 2009.

When Khan was contacted by the FBI, the complaint alleged, the gallery owner told the artist not to divulge that she had created the fake Picasso. In Khan’s interview with FBI agents, she said she obtained the drawing from a cosmetologist as collateral for a loan.

The complaint charges Khan with wire fraud, making false statements to the FBI and witness tampering. If convicted, Khan faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in federal prison.

When FBI agents served Khan the summons this morning, agents seized a painting by abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning that Khan allegedly purchased with $720,000 received for the sale of the fake Picasso.

Neither Khan nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

--My-Thuan Tran

Photo: West Hollywood antiques dealer Tatiana Khan has been named in a federal fraud case involving the $2-million sale of a fake Pablo Picasso that she allegedly paid an artist $1,000 to fabricate. Credit: U.S. attorney’s office

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