Artist Discovers Chinese Knock-off of His Sculpture Outside Offices of OC Billionaire Igor Olenicoff
The art world is buzzing over the copy having apparently been made by an anonymous Chinese stone carver in Beijing and renamed Human Natures: Many Faces. But Orange Countians and the financial press should be buzzing, too, over the identity of the billionaire who apparently acquired the knock-off.
It's Florida- and Laguna Beach-based billionaire, property developer and convicted tax felon Igor Olenicoff, who pleaded guilty in December 2007 to a massive tax fraud scheme involving $346 million and Bahama bank accounts.
|Don Wakefield's original--or is it?|
Olenicoff declined to reveal the exact source of the pieces, the identity of the craftsman or his thoughts on the works being copies of another artist's work. But The Art Newspaper was able to track them down to the anonymous Chinese artist who hawked nine Wakefield fakes.
No one likes seeing artists screwed, but you can't blame Olenicoff for going cheap. A Beijing-based stone-carving company estimated that to make a single copy of Wakefield's sculpture based on a photograph would cost $1,250 (or $950 each for three). Wakefield estimated that for he and Glickman to re-make thes original today, it would cost $35,000.
Since 2007, Olenicoff has paid the U.S. government $52 million in back taxes, interest and penalties to resolve his tax-fraud case.