“200 billion dollars is spent worldwide on art each year and 6 billion of that is tainted by illegal and illicit activity. Getting duped by forged art is in some ways the rich person’s ultimate humiliation. “
– Ben Ryder Howe, AiA Art News
“The incentive to be a proficient forger has soared: a single, expertly executed old master knockoff can finance a long, comfortable retirement.”
– Samanth Subramanian, The Guardian
If you want to learn the inside dope about the enormous business of art forgeries, you must read, Con Artist by Tony Tetro and Gimpiero Ambrosi. You’ll learn about the exhaustive labor it takes to paint a believable forgery and how these incredible fakes dupe savvy galleries and prestigious museums. The book also gives examples of how wealthy people knowingly buy these fakes so they could display them in their home, impressing visitors with their unsurpassed art sophistication.
A quote from the book:
“Corot painted 3,000 canvases, 10,000 of which have been sold in America.” – René Huyghe, former chief curator, Louvre Museum
Both the New York DA’s office and the FBI have beefed up their art fraud departments. Former DA head, Cyrus R. Vance, justified the expense saying, “Forgery is not good for New York City business. You don’t want to be known as a place where you go to buy art and half the time it’s fake.”
Thomas Hoving, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for two decades, examined thousands of art objects donated to the museum. In his book, False Impressions, he wrote, “I almost believe that there were as many bogus works as genuine ones.”
Not all painters start out as forgers. Dutch artist Henricus Antonius “Han” van Meegeren was determined to become a successful painter. When that didn’t pan out, he started duplicating works by Vermeer. He completed six forged paintings he called “unknown” Vermeers. He sold them for an eye-opening 60 million dollars.
Forged paintings were not only sold to ill-informed, unsuspecting buyers. Forger John Myatt was so talented he duped such highly-regarded auction houses as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Philips. Forgeries have also been found in public museums, private collections, and prestigious galleries.
There are so many expertly-done forged paintings, that it has spawned an industry of Forensic Art Detectives. These experts use the latest techniques to determine if a painting is authentic or fake: checking the age of the canvas, the paint pigments, X-rays, infrared scans, verifying the painting’s paper trail (called “provenance”), and radiocarbon dating. There’s talk that computers may one day be the full-proof method for inspecting paintings. But computers can easily be hacked by experts producing questionable results.
Those who have not been victims of art fraud will delight in seeing these three outstanding and eye-opening films. They will reassure anyone who has ever been fooled in business, even the smartest, the most experienced, most influential buyers of fine art occasionally get duped.
IN CASE YOU MISSED OUR OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS
YOU MIGHT ALSO CONSIDER:
Ove Lindahl lives in a Swedish townhouse neighborhood. He’s had three recent emotional setbacks: he was deposed of his chairmanship of the neighborhood association, six months ago he lost his beloved wife, Sonja…
Henry Graham, a playboy who inherited a substantial amount of money, has been informed by his lawyer that he’s dead-broke. He spent all his wealth on maintaining a profligate lifestyle. Henry has no skills and no interest in pursuing work…
Miami-born Carl Casper is the head chef of the high-end Gauloise Restaurant in Brentwood, California…
If you found this site helpful, please recommend it to a friend. We also welcome your comments.
email@example.com / call 917-439-3364
P.O. Box 20038
New York, N.Y. 10075