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Oswald Aulestia: “They say I was a great forger. I do not say if it is true or false. But no one has reported me."


The Catalan painter, condemned in the United States for his deceptions, stars in a documentary that lays bare a life of excesses and that has revalued his original work

Pa Tou

, an elderly farmer, flatteringly welcomes visitors to Oswald Aulestia's house-studio, a modern and cozy


in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona.

Here is a very small part of the work of this Catalan painter: his, the one that bears his signature, the one that he has not copied.

They are sheets of pop reminiscence and vibrant colors that catch the eye and that Aulestia, at 76 years old, draws on his desk and then composes on the computer with the help of a computer technician.

The bulk of his pictorial work, however, is... anywhere in the world.

Above all, in the United States: considered one of the greatest art forgers in history —due to the enormous number of copies he made, especially of Miró and Tàpies—, Aulestia stars in the Filmin documentary

The forger,

which narrates the vital adventures of a man who is undoubtedly unique, excessive and rogue.

It's hard to say where the man ends and the character begins because, perhaps, the two merged too long ago.

Directed by Kike Maíllo, the documentary, which premieres this Friday on the platform, exhibits a life pushed to the limit that takes place between Barcelona, ​​Venice and Miami.

Aulestia needs a lot of money to spend on parties and banquets and makes large-scale forgery her way of life, until she becomes a priority target of the FBI.

In 2019 —when Maíllo has been frequenting his company for some time and recording interviews with him—, the arrest warrant is activated and he is extradited to the United States, where he accepts a sentence of almost a year in prison.

His experience behind bars, he says, is going to change his perception of things, or maybe not so much, and part of the charm of a work that explores with subtlety some usual questions: what is the truth?

In his studio in Gràcia, where he wears a cap that is one of his hallmarks (along with a hoarse, cavernous voice and a Prussian general's mustache), Aulestia assures that he is going to speak with "total sincerity", but warns that maybe you shouldn't believe everything he says.

She does not give up copying the work of a famous painter if someone offers her "a million euros", although she insists that she is no longer interested in money, but rather that his work be recognized.

And for that, she admits, you have to "make noise."



Why are you participating in this documentary?


Because shit sells.


And what do you want to sell?


I want it not to be so difficult to sell a painting.

Works by Oswald Aulestia, in his home-studio in Barcelona. Gianluca Battista


When the documentary is released on Filmin and the three-episode series on TVE and TV3 there will be more "noise".

Maybe now is the time to buy...


[Laughs] Well, you're already late.

Since I returned from the United States in 2020 and my case began to interest, my works are sold 15 times more expensive than before.


Have you had to sell yourself, sell your story, for your work to be recognized?


I would not have to answer you, because I show that I am a shitty guy.

But yes.


All these paintings of yours, the originals, I mean… What are they for you?


A masturbation.

I paint every day and it is a pleasure.

And I use the current tools, which are of an unthinkable richness.

Now I only have two pleasures:


[looks at the dog] and painting.


At your age, do you still need money to party?


No, I'm just looking for recognition.

But maybe it's because right now I have money: now dealers, gallery owners, private individuals and collectors are after me, they want to buy the paintings.

I'm just looking for recognition.

But perhaps it is because right now I have money: now dealers, gallery owners, private individuals and collectors are after me, they want to buy the paintings


You say that the four months you spent in an isolation cell in the state of Illinois changed you, made you strong.


For the first time in my life I learned something: that happiness and truth depend on oneself.

I learned to know myself.

I entered as sand and became rock.

He is the only Oswald worth his salt.


Didn't it sink?


Before I was extradited to the United States, I was broke and depressed, very screwed.

I had divorced, I spent two years stumbling because the police were looking for me... And in the cell I discovered the great secret: not to think.

All our problems come from thought.

Do you know what it is to leave your mind blank?

It's like an orgasm, it makes you look silly.

Oswald Aulestia, in a frame from the documentary about his life.FILMIN


You accepted a conviction for falsifying works by other artists.

Do you think he is the greatest forger in the history of art, as he is being baptized?


They say I was a great forger, the Maradona of brushes, that museums and auction houses are full of my copies... I'm not saying if it's true or a lie.

But no one has reported me for fraud.


In the documentary you yourself explain that this is because if the buyer reports you, he admits that he has a fake painting in his possession and its price automatically drops.


If I say it in the documentary, then I keep quiet.


In a forgery, is it more important to correctly reproduce the drawing, the signature...?


The signature is a child's thing.

My father, who was also an artist, used to say that what counted was the imprint, the stroke, and he was somewhat right.

You have to get into the personality of the painter.

If you do something, even fake it, you have to do it right.

It was a lovely time: sex, drugs and rock and roll.

I've had such a good time!

We had a bag inside the apartment piano


Counterfeiting allowed you to lead a life of luxury and excess.

Tell me.


In Italy, where I arrived at the age of 20 with my father, I saw that everything existed in




, the original and the copy.

And I saw that the copy was a source of income.

I've done things that don't appear in the documentary... When I returned to Barcelona, ​​I devoted myself to video.

I made millions!


You also say that you visited movie and music stars during your time in Miami.


It was a lovely time: sex, drugs and

rock and roll.

I've had such a good time!

We had a bag inside the piano in the apartment.

Every night we took $10,000 and came back with nothing.

He was with bodyguards!




Because it is a pleasure, a unique experience.

It gives you a vibe that you cannot imagine.

When you arrive at the restaurant, at the disco... People look at you as if you were important.

To maintain that standard of living, he needed to earn a lot of money.

Oswald Aulestia, at his work desk. Gianluca Battista


Have you been happy?


It is that I have lived a movie.

For many years.

Now I don't care about sex, drugs… for God's sake, they're over, and I'm not old enough to rock and roll either.


It doesn't seem like art has been a priority for you.

With such a hangover, it must be difficult to paint...


The sprees lasted two days, at least.

Then I slept 24 hours and spent two days drinking onion soup.

So she drew, painted and exercised.

Until the next party.

I have changed my perspective.

I used to live for la dolce vita.

Now to get to know me a little better


And what do you expect now?


I have changed the perspective.

I used to live for la

dolce vita


Now to get to know me a little better.

In Delphi, in the sanctuary, there was a writing on the door that said: "Know thyself".


Yes, and another that prayed: "Nothing in excess"


[Laughs] Yes, and it seems very good to me, but it is not for me.


In the documentary the idea of ​​change, of redemption flies over.

Have you experienced it?


The change does not exist.

It is a big lie.

The nature of all of us is what it is.

There is the ability to accept you.

It is true that I have tried to be less stupid, less ignorant and more humble.

But you can't ask a cauliflower to be a endive.

Oswald is Oswald.

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Source: elparis

All life articles on 2022-09-30

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