In 2010 I had been offered a Pende mask that came from the St. Petersburg Collection Kochno by a well known dealer who told me that the mask was painted by Pablo Picasso who then gave it away. I started an extensive research and finally recognized the history and provenance of the mask as valid. The object was offered for sale just over one year and shortly before its purchase from a gynecologist from Osnabrück it was examined by people at the Berggruen Collection, who were also interested.
However, a few weeks before the sale I became suspicious because three more objects emerged from the same source and I recognized that the signatures and qualitiy of the objects were significantly different from the mask that I had been offered, and that the certificats showed striking peculiarities. For this reason, long before selling the mask, my French colleague began corresponding with Maya Picasso, later with Daniel Picasso from the Picasso Foundation.
The entire correspondence was confiscated during the completely exaggerated execution of a search warrant from eight police men and is now in the documents of the investigation. Also the letter to the customer where I offered an immediate refund is in these documents. This is why I was already acquitted of blame in 2012 during a trial in Osnabrück.
Why it took the LKA three years to arrest the forger of the certificates, whose name and address in Berlin had always been known, is a real mystery. It is wrong to connect my gallery with this forger, whom I had never met in my life, this destroys the good repuation of my gallery and my person. This leads to the next question: Why are two amateur journalists with the names of Bruno Claessens and Boudewijn Meijer going on about this case in their blogs without even having asked me a single question?
One explanation might be found in the personality of the Buyer, whose behavior should have made me suspicious during the sales negotiations. If you are interested in a true crime story and want to know the background of a carefully prepared intrigue, then please read the article I wrote in 2012: Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are.
From the numerous mistakes that first appeared in the tabloid press and then continued in the blogs of the above-mentioned writers, I want to pick out one example.
It is claimed that the mask had never been part of the Pablo Picasso collection. Now, this is really nothing new. It never belonged to the collection and this has never been claimed. In the years after 1970, Picasso bought at least one hundred replicas that he painted and usually gave away to friends. About eighty of them are shown on a double paged black and white photograph in Peter Stephan´s book "Picasso's Collection of African and Oceanic Art: Masters of Metamorphosis", published by Prestel Publishing House. These objects have never been archived. This is why Maya Picasso did not write "this is not a work of Pablo Picasso," but "She did not know if …".
Therefore the evaluation of the mask does not lead to the legal question of whether the mask is "real" or "authentic". These are the typical wrong approaches of ethno-clever-bigmouths who claim that the color was not used by the Pende in this manner.
How can someone claim to be able to determine if an object is "real" or not with a photograph? Is Boudewijn Meijer able to do this, the same guy who claims on his blog to have founded his collection with a few gold weights that cost him a few pennies? Fakes, or not?