Michael Schultz, a German gallerist whose reputation was marred by allegations that he had knowingly sold counterfeit artworks, has died at 70. According to Der Tagesspiegel, he died on December 28 after a brief serious illness.
Born in 1951 in the Black Forest, Schultz ran an influential gallery in his name that opened in Berlin in 1986. In addition to showing a younger crop of German artists that included Norbert Bisky, who is associated with the growth of a figurative painting style that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century in the country, Schultz’s gallery sold works by Georg Baselitz, A. R. Penck, Markus Lüpertz, and others. The gallery also ran a Seoul branch starting in 2006.
The accusations against Schultz emerged in 2019, after the dealer was arrested for selling a faked Gerhard Richter abstraction. The allegedly faked painting, at the time said to be worth between €800,000 and €1 million, came to light after Schultz attempted to take out loans that the Times of London reported were “sizeable.” The German press agency dpa said that Schultz was never imprisoned due to his poor health. He did not faced legal proceedings in relation to the accusations.
Schultz was also accused by German authorities of selling highly valued artworks with counterfeit certificates. He was also suspected by German authorities of leading schemes to defraud clients and failing to deliver artworks that he sold to them. Amid these allegations and his arrest, the gallery was formally dissolved in 2019.
Prior to becoming a dealer, Schultz had been editor-in-chief of the German art publication Kunst and a managing director of the Michael Wewerka gallery.