(by Pablo Burgués)
It is said that throughout his busy life Elmyr de Hory sold more than 1.000 falsifications of artists such as Renoir, Picasso, Matisse or Modigliani. Some people even state that some of these “masterpieces” today are still considered as the real ones and remain on the walls of some of the most famous museums in the world. But who is such a personality and where did he come from? How did he manage to deceive with his forgery some of the most prestigious art critics in the globe? Why did he choose Ibiza as his operation centre? Did he prefer McDonalds or Burger King?... The answer to these questions and many more will be provided here and now.
Hoffmann Elemér was born in 1906 in Budapest, to a family with purchasing power and somehow shoddy. However, the guy had not come to the world to suffer deprivation, so as soon as he grew up a bit he changed his name into Elmyr de Hory and became a gay porn escort. It seems that our friend was a real gentleman and soon he amassed a small fortune that allowed him to move to Paris.
In the city of the Seine he was able to hobnob with the greatest artists of the time, such as Picasso, Matisse or Ernest Hemingway, who, little by little, aroused our young friend’s passion for art (and also some other vice). But the Parisian good vibes and disorder didn’t last long… On 1st September 1939, a small but very bad-tempered man called invaded Poland, causing the outbreak of the Second World War.
Facing such panorama Elmyr decided to pack his bags and go back to Hungary, where the legend (because all what surrounds this personality walks in the arena of magical realism) tells that he was arrested by the German army and sent to a concentration camp. Already in 1945, after the end of the war, he came back to Paris with the purpose of make a living on painting, but it seems that the guy was not so skilful with his hands as he was with other parts of his body and step by step he sank into an abject poverty.
But when the situation was the worst and the guy had no choice but to eat a sandwich of paintbrushes to survive, something happened and changed everything. A rich art collector, named Lady Campbell, visited him at the loft where he lived, and having a look at his paintings he found a copy of an oil painting by Pablo Picasso, done by Elmyr. The Lady, thinking it was the original painting, offered him to buy it for an indecent amount of money. Elmyr, who was a man of principles, replied: do you take it as it is or may I wrap it for you?
To be continued…
Translation: Dora Sales
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