Copy That

Replicating Botticelli in Berlin

Kunstsalon Posin - die drei Posin Brüder - Semjon, Eugen (Evgeni) mit rotem Hemd und Michael Posin betreiben den Kunstsalon Posin in der Wippestraße 20 in Berlin Neukölln. Sie fälschen bekannte Kunstwerke. Vor dem noch unfertigen Botticellis- "Venus"-Gemälde. Im August 2015 Foto: Doris Spiekermann-Klaas
The three Posin brothers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • The Russian Posin brothers produce legal copies of works by Old Masters in their storefront gallery in Berlin’s Neukölln district.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Botticelli exhibition will run in the Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum in Berlin from now through Jan 25 2016.
    • The Posin brothers must adhere to the law that only permits copying works from artists who have been dead for at least 70 years.
    • The Posins consider themselves to be artists in their own right.
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    Audio

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Sandro Botticelli’s most famous work,“The Birth of Venus,” is conspicuously missing from the Gallery of Old Masters show in the Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum in Berlin. The Uffizi Gallery Museum in Florence said that the goddess born from the sea foam was indispensable to its own collection.

While the Renaissance painter’s 1485 masterpiece won’t be on show in Berlin, she can be seen in a small storefront gallery in the city’s Neukölln district.

The gallery serves as a studio for three Russian brothers, copyists and counterfeiters who are known far beyond Berlin. Unlike infamous German art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi, who served a prison term for forgery-related charges, brothers Eugen, Michael and Semjon Posin are all legal and above board. Their Venus was commissioned a year ago by an art lover from Spain for his private collection.

Seen from outside, the Art Salon Posin on little Wipper Street parallel to Karl Marx Allee, is unassuming. Its opaque glass door leads to two, cave-like rooms with a few old-fashioned and visibly worn chairs.

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