The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World

Anthony M. Amore. Palgrave Macmillan, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-137-27987-3
As head of security and chief investigator at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Anthony Amore (Stealing Rembrandts) is privy to more information on the subject of forgeries than the average art collector or dealer, and he shares a number of those stories in this engrossing account. According to Amore, art forgery has been part of the American art scene since the country’s inception, most famously illustrated by the rampant copies of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington that circulated at the turn of the 19th century. (That portrait now graces the $1 bill.) Rather than simply offering a laundry list of forgeries and hucksters, Amore shows the lengths forgers will go to in order to fool their patrons and the public, such as hunting down historically accurate materials (e.g., pigments), commissioning artists (“copyists”), and attempting various weathering techniques (even using a blow dryer in some cases to weather the paint). One shocking example involves surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, who as part of a lawsuit was ordered by the court to sign 17,000 blank sheets of paper, ultimately putting the provenance of his entire body of work up for debate. This is a bracing and highly informative assessment of a very real problem, sure to resonate with art fans and curators alike. Agent: Sharlene Martin, Martin Literary Management. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 07/14/2015
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-10860-9
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-7911-9
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