This morning, a 35-year-old man in Renton—Michael Little—was picked up for trafficking on eBay in fake Chihuly paintings and glass pieces, according to a DOJ announcement just now. He'll have his first appearance in court today at 1:30, and he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If the accusations are true, I wonder: Were they good forgeries? Chihuly has expert glassblowers fabricating his pieces, and he employs at least one man who specializes in making his splattery paintings. Who made these forgeries? Little himself? Or was he just the trafficker?
From the DOJ:
MICHAEL LITTLE was arrested this morning following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). ...
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, in 2011 and 2012, LITTLE offered for sale or sold various pieces of glass art and paintings that he represented were the work of Dale Chihuly. LITTLE marketed the works via eBay. The artworks bore a signature that appeared to be Chihuly’s and LITTLE provided paperwork that he said authenticated the pieces as the work of Dale Chihuly. However, an expert in Chihuly’s work examined the pieces at the request of the purchaser and determined they were fakes. The papers that were supposed to authenticate the works were also allegedly forged.