UK Art Dealer David Carter Admits Selling Fakes in Court

He bought works for hundreds and sold them for thousands.

Dealer of fakes David Carter
Fake Alfred Wallis as listed by David Carter<br> Photo: via the Daily Mail

Fake Alfred Wallis Red sails St Ives as listed by David Carter
Photo: via the Daily Mail

Art dealer David Carter has admitted in court that he knowingly, and deliberately sold fake paintings from his Wallis gallery website, and  Hayle Gallery in Cornwall.

Just last May, a German dealer was caught trying to sell a fake Giacometti sculpture.

Due to stand trial at Truro Crown Court, in a surprising move Carter changed his plea and admitted all charges against him on Wednesday June 24.

Based close to the art hot spot of St Ives in Cornwall, the gallery allegedly specialized in works by artists hailing from the seaside art hub, such as Alfred Wallis and the pre-Raphaelite landscape artist John Brett.

The dodgy dealer was caught after selling a work he claimed to be by Wallis to a woman at his gallery.

Art lover Carol Glasser had spent £5,000 on what she believed to be Boats Leaving Newlyn Harbor by Wallis in 2011.

“She attended his gallery and the defendant directed her attention towards a piece of work by Wallis,” said prosecutor Alex Greenwood reported the Daily Mail. “The defendant represented the work as genuine and said he could prove its provenance. Two days later she bought it for £5,000 ($7,865.62).”

The deception was revealed after Glasser later showed the painting to an auctioneer who expressed concerns regarding its authenticity.

Carter’s website also described one work as, “a superb painted object, the most superb and tactile piece of work by Wallis we have ever seen”.

Another painting Carter claimed to be by Wallis <br> Photo: via the Daily Mail

Boats Leaving Newlyn Harbor another painting Carter claimed to be by Wallis and sell to Glasser
Photo: via the Daily Mail

The work was listed with the price of £60,000 ($94,387.45) but it turns out that the painting- described as “marine bric-a-brac” by an expert at trading standards – was bought by the fraudulent dealer at auction for £316.17 ($497.40).

Following analysis, other paintings sold by Carter were revealed to be dated up to twenty years after Wallis died and sixty years after John Brett. The artist who created the fake Wallis paintings remains unnamed.

Not a John Brett painting unless you ask David Carter<br> Photo: via the Daily Mail

The Fishing Fleet, St Ives Not a John Brett painting unless you ask David Carter
Photo: via the Daily Mail

“A couple of months later I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested it could be a fake,” victim Glasser stated after the dealer admitted his guilt, the Guardian reports. “I was disgusted. I believed him as he said he had a letter proving its authenticity. Because of that I took him at face value.”

The judge in charge said that he would not rule out jail time for the crimes.

“The defendant put the paintings up for sale at prices that would have been appropriate if they had been genuine paintings with provenance,” said Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC. “I want you to understand that all sentence options remain open. The serious nature of this fraud is something I will have to take into account.”

Sentencing has been postponed until July 16.

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