How A Con Man And A Forger Rewrote The History Of Modern Art
On Sale: July 9, 2009
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A tautly paced investigation of one the 20th century’s
most audacious art frauds, which generated hundreds of
forgeries—many of them still hanging in prominent museums
and private collections today
is the extraordinary narrative of one of the most
far-reaching and elaborate deceptions in art history.
Investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
brilliantly recount the tale of a great con man and
unforgettable villain, John Drewe, and his sometimes
Chief among those was the
struggling artist John Myatt, a vulnerable single father who
was manipulated by Drewe into becoming a prolific art
forger. Once Myatt had painted the pieces, the real fraud
began. Drewe managed to infiltrate the archives of the upper
echelons of the British art world in order to fake the
provenance of Myatt’s forged pieces, hoping to irrevocably
legitimize the fakes while effectively rewriting art
The story stretches from London to Paris to
New York, from tony Manhattan art galleries to the esteemed
Giacometti and Dubuffet associations, to the archives at the
Tate Gallery. This enormous swindle resulted in the
introduction of at least two hundred forged paintings, some
of them breathtakingly good and most of them selling for
hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of these fakes are
still out in the world, considered genuine and hung
prominently in private houses, large galleries, and
prestigious museums. And the sacred archives, undermined by
John Drewe, remain tainted to this day.
Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller, filled
with unforgettable characters and told at a breakneck pace.
But this is most certainly not fiction; Provenance is
the meticulously researched and captivating account of one
of the greatest cons in the history of art forgery.
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