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Label: con

Wednesday 05th August 2015Conning the Art World

It's almost a Hollywood truism - everyone loves a good con movie. Whether it's because we love the pluck and daring involved, or the rogueish charm of a carefully flaunted set of rules (perhaps, deep down, many of us were wishing we could do the same), we can't seem to get enough of them. With auction prices at record highs, not to mention the fantastical and unquantifiable value of owning a masterpiece, the art world is constantly full of forgeries, and the cons that have to accompany them.

With that in mind, a number of books have been published recently on forgery and cons in the art world, and contain an impressively entertaining array of stories collected over the years and, in some cases, centuries. The Art of the Con, by Anthony M. Amore is one such book, which covers an impressive scope of crime, and understandably so - Amore is the chief investigator for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. If it seems strange to you that a museum might have an on-staff position of chief investigator (which inherently implies a number of other investigators also on staff), make sure to grab a copy of the book, and you'll see why it's necessary. From entertaining stories to examinations of the techniques used by master forgers, it's quite an enjoyable read.

The monetary rewards of art forgery are hardly the only motivations for the practice, however. Many artists have found themselves decried - or worse, ignored - by critics, only to take their skills to the black market and the lucrative crimes that follow in its wake.
 
As Noah Charney, the author of The Art of Forgery put it, “Many want recognition. They have real skills and tried hard to make their own successes, before turning to fakes and the multiple benefits they derived—proving to themselves they were as good as past masters and showing up the critics who had ignored their own works.” Another excellent look into the world of art forgeries, The Art of Forgery has some of the most mind-boggling stories of the fraudulent art and their artists, from dealers who duplicated their masterpieces and sold both originals and forgeries to an artistic forger who was so incensed by getting away with his crimes that he sued himself in court and received 20 months in jail as a result. Enjoy!
 

Posted on August 05th 2015 on 03:34pm
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Labels: art, con, forgery, fraud
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