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The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers
Author: Noah Charney
Publisher: Published May 12th 2015 by Phaidon Press
ISBN: 9780714867458
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers explores the stories, dramas and human intrigues surrounding the world's most famous forgeries - investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike.

30 review for The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I would like to begin with a big compliment for the person who gave this book its visual look, the front with the cover design of Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a pearl earring om a black velvet underground is breathtaking. Good enough reason to buy the book in the first place. The books illustrations of the various paintings, drawings and other objects are very good looking too and well placed in the book. The books starts with an introduction about how the world likes to be deceived and it split I would like to begin with a big compliment for the person who gave this book its visual look, the front with the cover design of Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a pearl earring om a black velvet underground is breathtaking. Good enough reason to buy the book in the first place. The books illustrations of the various paintings, drawings and other objects are very good looking too and well placed in the book. The books starts with an introduction about how the world likes to be deceived and it split up up in various sections in which the writer wants to tells us about the various motives for forgery. Genius, Pride, Revenge, fame, crime, opportunism, money & power. in it the clearly knowledgeable writer tells us a great amount about the history of forgery and some of its main characters. The amount of cases and names are large and some surely deserve more attention hence me buying the Charney book on the subject of the Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altar piece and the book on the subject of the stealing of the Mona Lisa in 1911. This book in essence is a appetizer with loads of interesting stories to tell like Han Vermeegeren who almost got convicted for treason because he sold treasure to the Nazi's which he created himself. (I was Vermeer by Fran Wynne is lying also at my home). It is a collection of stories that I find interesting and fascinating, as it also tells a lot about the development of art and society in our history. Even the Romans already faked Greek art for social standing. It is a well written and really good looking book that is interesting and moves along in quite a quick pace. So if like me you want to find something more indepth about certain cases, you can always read another book on the subject as specific as you want. Really worth my time and very informative. Well advised.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    “Welcome to the world of forgery and remember your Petronius: Munus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur, ‘The world wishes to be deceived, so let it be deceived’” “Art forgery appears to be an unthreatening and victimless crime (or rather, one that only affects the very rich, with the media and forgers alike implying that these elitist victims deserve to have the wool pulled over their eyes), so its criminals tend to be seen as skilful rapscallions, part-illusionists, part-practical jokers, the ones who “Welcome to the world of forgery and remember your Petronius: Munus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur, ‘The world wishes to be deceived, so let it be deceived’” “Art forgery appears to be an unthreatening and victimless crime (or rather, one that only affects the very rich, with the media and forgers alike implying that these elitist victims deserve to have the wool pulled over their eyes), so its criminals tend to be seen as skilful rapscallions, part-illusionists, part-practical jokers, the ones who point out that the emperor (in this case, the art world) wears no clothes.” This is the second book I’ve read about art forgery in about as many weeks. While the subject definitely interests me (obviously) – reading the two books almost in succession does lead to a bit of an overlap in the information and begs for comparisons. Out of respect for each author’s individual writing style and opinion about the subject matter I am going exercise my barely-there self-control and refrain from making the comparisons. Mr. Charney gives his readers quite a lengthy introduction with this book, so even if a reader is not familiar with the subject of art forgery, after reading the introduction the rest of the book makes good sense. He also breaks the book up into interesting sections, each detailing one aspect behind the “art of forgery”. The sections heading are Genius, Pride, Revenge, Fame, Crime, Opportunism, Money and Power, each a reason in the mind of the perpetrator to commit the fraud. Mr. Charney points out over and over again that no one is ever charged with forging a piece of art. The act of copying a piece of art is not a crime. In fact since the teaching of art began the best way of learning the craft is to copy the masters. The crime comes in misrepresenting the piece as something that it is not or providing a provenance that is fictitious. Not only art but also history itself has been altered by clever and talented cons involving faked provenance. Since the punishment for art crime not involving theft is minimal often the forger emerges from his cell with somewhat of a celebrity status and goes on to make more money legitimately afterwards. If the case is made well-known to the public even the forgeries become highly sought after works. Exhibitions made up entirely of art forgeries have often been staged by premier Art Galleries. “… there is a distinct lack of disincentive for potential criminals to try their hand at forgery.. This is perhaps most obvious in the cases of John Myatt and Wolfgang Beltracchi, both of whom served a minimal amount of time in minimum-security prisons, and both of whom enjoyed lucrative careers following their exposure. The prison sentences for forgers tend to be so slight, and the popular interest in them so great, that it may seem well worth a year or two in a minimum-security prison to then emerge as a sort of folk hero with a rewarding career” “In the field of art forgery, the benefits outweigh the risks, and by a mile.” Mr. Charney concludes his book with examples of forgeries other than art including fine wine, archeological finds, maps, literature and signatures/autographs. All in all this is another comprehensive book on the subject written in an easy to read and understandable manner complete with beautiful pictures and illustrations. I’m usually pretty generous with my 5-star ratings of non-fiction, and I would rate this book at 4 stars because I found as Mr. Charney gave his personal conclusions at the close of each section of the book he had nothing new to say – he’d stated the obvious in his introduction – so it just became repetitive. However, I feel obligated to knock another ½ star off because Mr. Charney sites the 2013 movie “The Art of the Steal” (starring Kurt Russell and Matt Dillon) in this book and – this is only my humble opinion!! – I feel he gets the synopsis of the movie wrong. BTW … it was an excellent movie to site because this film encompasses almost every aspect of art crime, from theft to forgery and on through fake provenance, skilled con men, intricate planning, questionable art experts, shady deals and greedy buyers in a highly entertaining and very humorous manner. Now the movie I would rate 5-stars! Interestingly enough, considering he just published a book dealing exclusively with forgery Mr. Charney makes the following statement in the concluding pages … “If anything, the media fascination with forgers provides an active incentive for those considering forgery. If the media collectively sternly condemned forgers rather than applauding their exploits, it would be a step in the right direction. Likewise, if the media agreed not to publish the names or photographs of forgers, nor images of their handiwork – the publication of which offers forgers a route to celebrity – it would have a similarly dissuasive effect. Such a collective agreement on the part of major media players remains highly unlikely, however.” Seems a little contradictory? Or is it my fault for my fascination with the topic?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Hart

    Scholarly in tone but still very readable. Plenty about the human psyche and why people forge as well as how and what. Very interesting a beautifully designed book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    kari

    A good and extensive look at history of art forgery - the outline of this book is quite a work of art itself. It would have been even better without the occasional slips into racist and ableist language.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Unfortunately the book is not greater than the sum of its parts. Many of the individual stories are very interesting, however they are covered so quickly that very little beyond the surface summary of them is really explained. Though the book is categorized by understanding the different motivations of art forgery, I never felt the book really had anything interesting to say about that. If the book had just been told in chronological order, it would have read the same. It made me interested in t Unfortunately the book is not greater than the sum of its parts. Many of the individual stories are very interesting, however they are covered so quickly that very little beyond the surface summary of them is really explained. Though the book is categorized by understanding the different motivations of art forgery, I never felt the book really had anything interesting to say about that. If the book had just been told in chronological order, it would have read the same. It made me interested in the subject in general, and maybe I will go seek out some books that cover some of the more interesting stories in greater depth, particularly those involving the artistic techniques for creating forgeries.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Olga Zbranek Biernátová

    Vítejte ve světě CSI Art! Čtěte celou recenzi: http://bit.ly/recenze-umeni-falzifikace

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I loved this book! It's a great analysis of the motivations and methodologies of different art forgers. I also loved that this book had a lot of pictures of original and forged works of art.

  8. 5 out of 5

    _moni_loves_

    Sagenhaft gute Fälscher Schon das Cover finde ich traumhaft schön, zeigt es doch mit dem Gemälde "Das Mädchen mit den Perlenohrringen" eines der bekanntesten Kunstwerke der Geschichte und stimmt auf den Inhalt ein. In einem sehr angenehmen Schreibstil, nicht so üblich wenn es sich um Sachbücher handelt, verfolgen wir in verschiedenen Bereichen die Hintergründe einiger der größten Meisterfälscher ihrer Zeit. Jeder hat einen anderen Antrieb, wie beispielsweise Stolz, Rache, Ruhm, Kriminalität, Geld Sagenhaft gute Fälscher Schon das Cover finde ich traumhaft schön, zeigt es doch mit dem Gemälde "Das Mädchen mit den Perlenohrringen" eines der bekanntesten Kunstwerke der Geschichte und stimmt auf den Inhalt ein. In einem sehr angenehmen Schreibstil, nicht so üblich wenn es sich um Sachbücher handelt, verfolgen wir in verschiedenen Bereichen die Hintergründe einiger der größten Meisterfälscher ihrer Zeit. Jeder hat einen anderen Antrieb, wie beispielsweise Stolz, Rache, Ruhm, Kriminalität, Geld oder Macht. Und ihre Geschichten sind zweifelsohne verdammt spannend und sagenhaft genial. Ich bin aus dem Staunen gar nicht mehr heraus gekommen. Das dieses Buch mich so dermaßen in seinen Bann zieht hat mich mächtig überrascht. Denn einmal angefangen zu lesen, konnte ich es einfach nicht mehr aus der Hand legen. Interessiert verfolgte ich die Aufklärungen der Fälschungen, welche nicht einmal als diese angesehen wurden, so gut hatte es der Nachahmer geschafft den Stil zu interpretieren und dadurch neue, verschollene Werke zu erschaffen. Auch überaus interessant fand ich den Einblick, den man in einige Privatbereiche berühmter Künstler erhaschen konnte. Ganz begeistert war ich von den Schilderungen über Salvador Dali, seine Eigenheiten und Lebensstil. So konnte man sich mit den Künstlern identifizieren und teilweise ihr Handeln nachvollziehen. Es geht nicht nur um all die bedeutenden Werke der Kunstgeschichte, sondern auch um ihre Erschaffer dahinter. Und nicht selten wussten die Meister von den Fälschungen und haben einfach geschwiegen, weil sie selbst davon profitierten. Nicht jeder Experte erkannte den Unterschied, viele große Schwindel wurde erst Jahrhunderte später, dank der nun vorhandenen Technik, entschlüsselt und schockierten die Kunstwelt. Doch auch wenn eine Fälschung als diese erkannt wurde, wurde dies nicht auch unbedingt so akzeptiert. " Die Welt möchte getäuscht werden, also sei sie getäuscht." Denn manchmal sind die Besitzer von ihrem Glauben an das Original einfach nicht abzubringen. Da es beim Kauf der Fälschungen ja meist nur sehr wohlhabende Menschen trifft, wurden viele der Fälscher sogar gefeiert und nahmen gern eine geringe Gefängnisstrafe in Kauf, nur um danach im Ruhm zu baden und Karriere zu machen, welche ihnen bislang durch "falsche" Einschätzungen der Experten verwehrt blieb. Viele rächten sich auf diese Weise an der Kunstszene, die ihre Talente so herunter spielte. Vor kurzem habe in einen Thriller rund um die Geheimnisse des Genter Altars gelesen und habe mich somit auch gefreut über diesen in diesem Sachbuch mehr zu erfahren. Was war wirklich dran an dem Raub, welche Details sind tatsächlich geschehen und hat man die geraubte Tafel wieder gefunden? Bemerkenswert sind auch die Techniken, welche angewendet wurden, um die Gemälde und Skulpturen älter erscheinen zu lassen. Die Farben die speziell gemischt wurden, getreu denen des Originals oder auch die schlichte Ignoranz dieser nachweisbaren Echtheit, damit man nie sagen konnte, man wurde über den Tisch gezogen, da eine genaue Überprüfung des Materials die Fälschung sofort entlarvt hätte. Ich werde garantiert noch oft in diesem Buch blättern, hat es mich doch schlicht erfreut und inspiriert! Unbedingt lesenswert, auch für Nichtkunstinteressierte!

  9. 5 out of 5

    James

    A fascinating study of the history and psychology of art forgers, mostly in the 20th century. Charney tells why and how they accomplished their forgeries. Of course, the ones we know about were ultimately unsuccessful in continuing to fool the art establishment--but to the extent they did, putting a thumb in the eye of the so-called "experts" did the trick. Of course, money comes into it too. The book is a delightful, compelling read. You learn a lot about the techniques of forgery as well as th A fascinating study of the history and psychology of art forgers, mostly in the 20th century. Charney tells why and how they accomplished their forgeries. Of course, the ones we know about were ultimately unsuccessful in continuing to fool the art establishment--but to the extent they did, putting a thumb in the eye of the so-called "experts" did the trick. Of course, money comes into it too. The book is a delightful, compelling read. You learn a lot about the techniques of forgery as well as the stories of the forgers. Highly recommended

  10. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Typically I don't leave reviews because I don't care enough to. This text left me bewildered enough to feel a need to voice my opinion to the internet, so I'll keep it brief. I knew there would be an issue because within the first few pages, the author claimed there are no prominent female art forgers ever, which is a bold and absurd claim. 1. The best forgers are never caught. Probs women. 2. Quit erasing women from history. Poorly researched and topical with an irritating pseudo-scholar tone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rose Ann

    Wow, what a good book this was! Informative and well-written.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Reca

    Este libro se articula en capítulos basados en los diferentes motivos que incentivaron a los artistas plásticos a cometer falsificaciones. A partir de sus historias individuales, el autor nos cuenta por qué y cómo falsificaban las obras y cuándo los atraparon. Descubrimos que los falsificadores no siempre actúan por dinero, sino también por reconocimiento en el mundo artístico o el mero placer de burlar a los curadores más especializados y dejar expuesta la teatralidad de la idea de un "genio art Este libro se articula en capítulos basados en los diferentes motivos que incentivaron a los artistas plásticos a cometer falsificaciones. A partir de sus historias individuales, el autor nos cuenta por qué y cómo falsificaban las obras y cuándo los atraparon. Descubrimos que los falsificadores no siempre actúan por dinero, sino también por reconocimiento en el mundo artístico o el mero placer de burlar a los curadores más especializados y dejar expuesta la teatralidad de la idea de un "genio artístico" único e irrepetible. The Art of Forgery es una introducción al modus operandi del tráfico de obras de arte, pero no profundiza en los instrumentos científicos utilizados en la detección de las falsificaciones mas que un breve sumario de técnicas. Lo interesante de este libro son las historias que rodean algunas de las grandes obras de arte que conocemos y nos lleva a cuestionarnos si la próxima obra que veremos en un museo no será una falsificación también. No recuerdo la mención de falsificadoras mujeres, faltó investigación.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian Tringali

    I never studied art history in college but have always wished that I had. This work may be intended for use as a textbook, but I really enjoyed. Indeed, I could not put it down. I love the science behind the artwork, particularly with regard to oil (although that is my least experienced medium). Charney's work explores the history of art forgery and makes a strong argument that consumers want to be fooled. The author explores the psychological motivations of the forger in some detail. But Carney I never studied art history in college but have always wished that I had. This work may be intended for use as a textbook, but I really enjoyed. Indeed, I could not put it down. I love the science behind the artwork, particularly with regard to oil (although that is my least experienced medium). Charney's work explores the history of art forgery and makes a strong argument that consumers want to be fooled. The author explores the psychological motivations of the forger in some detail. But Carney goes further and provides recommendations for curbing forgery in the future -- a noble gesture that is likely to fall on deaf ears. We like being fooled and we give a cult-like status to those who fool us. One might say the devil is in the details.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Green Magritte

    Úžasná kniha! Umění falzifikace je poučné a často dobrodružné čtení. Bude bavit všechny milovníky umění i laiky. V příbězích jednotlivých padělatelů nechybí detektivní napětí, překvapivé odhalení i pozoruhodná výprava do padělatelovy mysli a jeho motivace. Autor odhaluje triky a metody práce padělatelů a popisuje, jak byli nakonec dopadeni (pomocí precizní policejní práce, vědeckých metod,…). Kniha Zlín přišla s velmi příjemnou knihou z nakladatelství Phaidon

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stormy

    This book looks at motivations of art forgers such as pride, poverty, and even revenge - but it also looks at motivations of galleries, auction houses, and collectors who are on a treasure hunt to find the next Leonardo. They subconsciously might want to be deceived when presented with a possible “lost” art piece. It all makes for an interesting look at human nature.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Not blown away by this. The categories he placed the forgers into seemed contrived and forced. The most interesting parts of the forgery process: the hard work behind creating the works and the hard work behind detecting and prosecuting the forgers, were superficially addressed in most cases in order to provide this broad view.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Connie Delzer

    very well written

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rosanna Ioannou

    Interesting and well researched!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth Baryon

    Fascinating read. I liked thinking about what motivated the forgers and the overview of historical forgery cases.

  20. 5 out of 5

    dwillsh

    interesting...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    very interesting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wedma

    Das vorliegende Buch „Original Meisterfälscher“ von Noah Charney, dem auf Kunstkriminalität spezialisierten Kunsthistoriker, Initiator und Präsidenten von ARCA(Assosiation for Research into Crime against Art), ist ein Meisterwerk an sich, denn es enthüllt nicht nur plausible Gründe und Methoden der Fälscher, sondern stellt spannende Fragen, gibt zahlreiche Beispiele, liefert Vergleiche und erklärt, weshalb viele Fälschungen in etlichen Bereichen im Umlauf sind. Das Werk ist klar konzipiert: Es g Das vorliegende Buch „Original Meisterfälscher“ von Noah Charney, dem auf Kunstkriminalität spezialisierten Kunsthistoriker, Initiator und Präsidenten von ARCA(Assosiation for Research into Crime against Art), ist ein Meisterwerk an sich, denn es enthüllt nicht nur plausible Gründe und Methoden der Fälscher, sondern stellt spannende Fragen, gibt zahlreiche Beispiele, liefert Vergleiche und erklärt, weshalb viele Fälschungen in etlichen Bereichen im Umlauf sind. Das Werk ist klar konzipiert: Es gibt 8 Kapitel, die Gründe wie Z.B. Genie, Stolz, Ruhm, Geld, Macht, etc., benennen und diese kurz und prägnant, auf 1/2 bis ¾-Seitenlänge ausführen. Danach werden die Thesen anhand von Beispielen, den entsprechenden Bildern, Zeichnungen, Fotos, auf 20-30 Seiten pro Kapitel erläutert. Es wird Klartext geredet, und auch dem Leser die Möglichkeit gegeben, zur eigenen Meinung zu gelangen, wie sich manche Originale und Fälschungen unterscheiden, da Abbildungen einiger solcher Paare nebeneinander auf einem Blatt präsentiert erscheinen. Das Ganze ist in einen sinnvollen Rahmen gesetzt: „Die Welt möchte getäuscht werden“ (Zu Beginn), „dann sei sie getäuscht.“ (Fazit). Man erfährt nicht nur jede Menge Tipps und Tricks, wie die Fälscher arbeiteten, wie sie die Bilder, bzw. Skulpturen Jahrhunderte alt aussehen lassen konnten, man erhält auch die Titel der weiterführenden Literatur, die als Quellen zur Stützung der Thesen und Fakten dienen, wenn man noch tiefer in die Materie einsteigen möchte. Manche Bücher sind von den berühmten wie erfolgreichen Meisterfälschern höchstpersönlich geschrieben worden, z.B. Hebborn oder Han van Meegeren, die ihre Geheimnisse mit dem Publikum teilen. Spannende wie dramatische Geschichten werden erzählt, die die Meisterwerke, ihre Kopien und die Fälscher umgeben, wie auch gute Fragen aufgeworfen, e.g. ab wann ist Fälschung eine Fälschung, z.B. wenn es um die Bilder geht, die der Künstler mit großem Namen (z.B. Salvador Dalí ) in Auftrag einem Künstler aus seiner Werkstatt (Pixot) gegeben und diese dann unter Dalí Namen der Welt präsentiert hat. Handelt es sich dann um eine Fälschung, auch wenn Dalí darunter steht und die Bilder in seinem Sinne ausgeführt worden sind? S. 71. Auch das Beispiel mit der Basquiat-Tür ist bemerkenswert: Die Kommission, die die Echtheit des Werkes prüfen sollte, erklärte das Original für eine Fälschung aus moralischen Gründen, um es nicht unnötig aufzuwerten, da die Gefahr hoch erschien, dass der Besitzer, ein ehem. Drogendealer, vom Verkauf des Werkes sehr gut profitieren könnte. Es geht aber nicht ausschließlich um Gemälde, Zeichnungen oder Skulpturen: Beispiele von Weinfälschung, von gefälschten mittelalterlichen Schriften (Konstantinische Schenkung), oder moderneren Schriftstücken (Hitlers Tagebücher), oder von gefälschten Sprachen oder Reliquien (Turiner Grabtuch) wurden angesprochen. Auch von Shakespeare und seiner wahren Identität wie seinen Werken ist die Rede. Der Autor weist auch auf die Gründe hin, weshalb eine Fälschung lieber doch nicht als solche entdeckt werden möchte: „Für Experten ist es eine Todsünde, ein Werk als original zu bezeichnen, das sich später womöglich als falsch entpuppt. Ein solcher Fehler kann Karrieren beenden, weshalb die Tendenz besteht, unter allen Umständen auf der ersten öffentlichen Aussage zur Authentizität zu beharren. Auf dem Spiel stehen schließlich Stolz und Reputation, also zieht die Kunstwelt lieber in den Krieg als einen Fehler einzugestehen.“ S. 90. Die liebevolle Ausstattung des Buches wird dessen Besitzer freuen: Die Seiten sind aus gutem weißem Papier, die Abbildungen und Fotos in Höchstauflösung, die Kapitel sind voneinander mit einem farbigen (grauen bis tiefblauen) Blatt voneinander getrennt, die glatte Oberfläche des Schutzumschlages fühlt sich angenehm an, der Titel hebt sich haptisch wie optisch vom übrigen Bild ab. All das spricht dafür, dass das Buch als Geschenk eine gute Wahl darstellt. Der Inhalt steht dem Äußeren im nichts nach. Sehr gut gefiel mir die Haltung des Autors. Er geht kritisch mit der Handhabe der Echtheit um und empfiehlt auch den Lesern und Kunstkäufern dies zu tun. „Zu viel Vertrauen in die Aussagen anderer kann in die Irre führen.“ S. 252. Das einzige, was mich etwas gestört hat: Vieles wirkte eher angerissen. Einige Themen, die mich besonders interessierten, waren recht kurz abgehandelt. An sich ist verständlich, denn sonst wäre es ein Foliant von mehreren hunderten Seiten geworden, wenn man alles in aller Ausführlichkeit behandelt hätte. Bloß die Meinung des Autors zu einigen Punkten habe ich manchmal vermisst. Fazit: Besonders für Kunst- und Kunstgeschichteliebhaber dürfte es eine spannende wie aufschlussreiche Lektüre sein. Selbst die ausgewiesenen Kenner werden das eine oder das andere für sich neu entdecken können. Aber auch für diejenigen, die gute Geschichten aus dem Leben mögen, ist es eine unterhaltsame Lektüre. Ein gelungenes und lehrreiches Werk, das ich gerne gelesen habe und gut weiterempfehlen kann.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    In this richly illustrated book, author Charney explores many of the most notorious cases of art forgery—a deception that dates to ancient Rome—and the often colorful characters bent on deception. Like all crimes, this one depends on opportunity and motive. Opportunity Until very recently, the perceived value of artworks and religious objects was solely expert-driven, based on connoisseurship. If a recognized expert asserted that a painting was a heretofore undiscovered Rembrandt, for all intents In this richly illustrated book, author Charney explores many of the most notorious cases of art forgery—a deception that dates to ancient Rome—and the often colorful characters bent on deception. Like all crimes, this one depends on opportunity and motive. Opportunity Until very recently, the perceived value of artworks and religious objects was solely expert-driven, based on connoisseurship. If a recognized expert asserted that a painting was a heretofore undiscovered Rembrandt, for all intents and purposes (especially sales value), it was. Today, science provides museums and private collectors with increasing protection. Chemical, radiographic, and other advanced techniques can analyze paper, canvas, pigments, wood, and other intrinsic attributes of a work. A common giveaway is the use of paints that weren’t available at the time the artwork was supposedly created. But science provides protection only if would-be buyers insist tests be performed before they write out their check. Over the years, forgers have responded by becoming more skilled in reproducing the materials and techniques of the past, so that often their work can pass all but the most detailed examination. Detailed digital replicas pose a new hazard to unwary purchasers. Those engaged in an art forgery racket also excel in producing false documentation and paper trails. These establish the spurious lineage and history of ownership (called provenance) of a work. Forgers rarely simply copy an existing work—it’s too easily identified as already hanging in a museum or private collection. Instead, they precisely mimic an artist’s style and favored subject matter. This new work is then passed off as a “lost” or previously unknown masterwork, with all the paperwork to prove it. Motivation Why do they do it, when the possibility of detection is ever-present? Charney says some simply like the challenge of pitting their skill against that of past masters. A German newspaper said forger Wolfgang Beltracchi “painted the best Campendonk that ever was.” Indeed, some forgers have been artistic geniuses, but underappreciated and undervalued in their own time. For that reason, revenge against an indifferent art establishment contributes to motive. Art forgery is not treated as a particularly serious crime and rarely results in lengthy jail terms (usually for fraud). Many former forgers have gained substantial fame after their misdeeds were exposed. More rarely, copies of paintings are made and substituted for the real thing, delaying detection of the theft of the originals. At Prague’s Sternberk Palace, thieves skipped the hard part and substituted a poster for the original they stole; in Poland, more ambitious thieves replaced the painting they stole with a painted-over poster bought at the museum gift shop. It took days for anyone to notice. Unscrupulous dealers—con artists, basically—persuade some artists to create works in a particular style. The excitement and pride collectors feel when they “discover” a lost artwork typically makes the seller’s job easier. Charney describes numerous examples of fraudulent art from over the centuries, and his comparison photos add much to the book’s enjoyment. (Forgery of religious relics is a cottage industry in Israel and the Middle East, detailed in Nina Burleigh’s excellent Unholy Business, touched on briefly in Charney’s book.) Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur “The world wishes to be deceived,” the book’s cover says, “so let it be deceived.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    I heard this author on NPR and thought the book sounded interesting, but I had no idea until I got it in my hands how impressive the production of the book is. The book has color images throughout, therefore the entire book is printed on bright white, heavy-stock paper (it weighs a ton). And there are blue pages tipped in at the beginning of each section (and they are different shades of blue.) It really is a well-designed book that must have cost the publisher a fortune, showing how much they b I heard this author on NPR and thought the book sounded interesting, but I had no idea until I got it in my hands how impressive the production of the book is. The book has color images throughout, therefore the entire book is printed on bright white, heavy-stock paper (it weighs a ton). And there are blue pages tipped in at the beginning of each section (and they are different shades of blue.) It really is a well-designed book that must have cost the publisher a fortune, showing how much they believe in the book. The images are key. It brings so much to the book when we can look at a painting and a fake of it side-by-side. I didn't as much care about the occasional images of some of the forgers, but the artworks they created are impressive, even (or especially) the fakes. I liked how the book was organized around motivations instead of around types of artwork or types of forgeries. Looking at the personalities behind the forgers brought a new level of fascination. I've read about a couple of these forgers in the past like in Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo but I never understood why they did it, aside from the money. It's interesting that money is often a secondary reason. It's much more common that the forgers are failed artists who want to embarrass the art world or prove the experts who rejected them wrong. And for that to truly work, they have to be caught. Their forgeries have to be exposed, or no one will be embarrassed, no one will be proven wrong. The breadth of work some of these forgers create is astonishing. Some can replicate the style of hundreds of artists across centuries and genres. It does seem as if they are very talented and it does make you wonder about why some people succeed and others fail. Are they truly missing that extra something, that passion, that frisse? Or are they only successful when copying someone else who was honestly inspired? It's also interesting to look at times when the art world really shouldn't have been fooled by forgers obviously using the wrong media, and yet it was overlooked. If you have any interest in the art world, this book is a must-read. Exhaustively researched, but accessibly written, this book was fascinating and hard to put down.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jindriska Mendozová

    NOAH CHARNEY – UMĚNÍ FALZIFIKACE – RECENZE Jindřiška Mendozová, www.z-kultury-i-nekultury.blogspot.com Snad téměř každý byl někdy v muzeu, v galerii, na výstavě... Těšil se pohledem na proslulá díla slavných malířů, v katalogu si četl o tom, kdy a jak vznikala. Málokdo si asi v tu chvíli položil otázku, jestli opravdu všechno, co vidí jsou originály, jestli se nevloudila kopie, padělek... Koho tato otázka napadla, neměl by si nechat ujít knihu Noaha Charneye „Umění falzifikace“, která vyšla v nakl NOAH CHARNEY – UMĚNÍ FALZIFIKACE – RECENZE Jindřiška Mendozová, www.z-kultury-i-nekultury.blogspot.com Snad téměř každý byl někdy v muzeu, v galerii, na výstavě... Těšil se pohledem na proslulá díla slavných malířů, v katalogu si četl o tom, kdy a jak vznikala. Málokdo si asi v tu chvíli položil otázku, jestli opravdu všechno, co vidí jsou originály, jestli se nevloudila kopie, padělek... Koho tato otázka napadla, neměl by si nechat ujít knihu Noaha Charneye „Umění falzifikace“, která vyšla v nakladatelství Kniha Zlín. Hned v úvodu autor vysvětluje základní pojmy, jako rozdíl mezi padělkem a podvrhem, se kterými následně na celé ploše knihy pracuje. Kniha je poměrně obsáhlá a kromě zajímavých příběhů z velmi staré i nejnovější historie padělatelství se autor věnuje i motivacím, které padělatele k této činnosti vedou. I těch je rozhodně rozmanitá škála od zisku až po „vtípky“, kdy autor padělku např. přidá do klasického díla motivy, které naprosto neodpovídají době vzniku obrazu a čekají, kdy budou odhaleni... Zajímavé je i to, že odhalení padělatelé se často stávali a stávají jakýmisi VIP osobnostmi, které o své „dráze padělete“ píší knihy... a budili a budí nemalý zájem veřejnosti. Zajímavé je i to, že autor se nevěnuje pouze obrazům, které při slově padělek „naskočí“ automaticky asi většině lidí, ale i sochám, vínu... a dokonce i kostem... Pro mnohé bude asi překvapením, kolik relikvií, kůstek svatých, nebylo ničím jiným než zvířecí kostičkou... Samozřejmě padělatelé, kteří mohou vzbudit zájem veřejnosti, se rozhodně nestávají VIP osobnostmi pro samotné umělce. Knihu tak otvírá prohlášení Albrechta Dürera, který jako jeden z prvních požadoval pro padělatele tvrdé tresty... Ovšem na druhé břehu pomyslné řeky stojí třeba Salvator Dalí, umělec schopný podepsat prázdné listy papíru, aniž by se staral o to, že grafika či malba, které se na bílou plochu dostanou později, vůbec nebudou jeho dílem. Umění falzifikace je kniha, která rozhodně zaujme, zodpoví mnoho otázek a mnoho dalších jen nastíní či pootevře. Je to kniha, která rozhodně není určena jen pro čtenáře, kteří se perfektně orientují v historii umění... určitě ale může přivést k hlubšímu zájmu o ně. ★★★★★

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daryl

    A quick, interesting read. Not sure what I expected. Not a "wow" book for me but not one I regret either.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    A collection of separate essays poorly organized around motivating themes (Pride, Revenge, Money) that the author sets up and then doesn't adhere to. Read False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes instead. Horrible illustrations. Especially for an art book. One with such poor contrast it is little more than a brown patch on the page. Several pretty much extraneous photos of the forgers. Photos too small to see the characteristics of the paintings that are being described. Photos that do A collection of separate essays poorly organized around motivating themes (Pride, Revenge, Money) that the author sets up and then doesn't adhere to. Read False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes instead. Horrible illustrations. Especially for an art book. One with such poor contrast it is little more than a brown patch on the page. Several pretty much extraneous photos of the forgers. Photos too small to see the characteristics of the paintings that are being described. Photos that don't actually show the characteristics being described (p. 132-133 de Hory's Portrait of a Woman in the style of Modigliani, as well as Tom Keating's Van Goghs and Rembrandts). Comparison photos of the real art and the forgeries (Karel Appel and Ben Nicholson OMG!) that made me think that I have enough Rustoleum in my basement to start a new career. By the second time that the author repeated the information that forgers NEVER include an underdrawing and that underdrawing is absolute proof that a painting is original, I was rofl. "Always include an underdrawing" is Rule #1 in Art Forgery for Dummies. I thought that it was interesting that the author chose to include Mark Landis (p. 141) in this book. His modus operandi is to paint very bad copies of paintings by famous artists using $6 worth of supplies purchased at Home Depot, disguise himself as a priest, then donate the paintings to museums who are usually fooled only long enough for him to leave the scene. He sounds mentally ill and hasn't apparently committed any crime. He has even turned down a receipt for a tax write-off. Towards the end of the book there is a dump of miscellaneous objects that the author picked up along the way and felt compelled to use in the book, including wine bottles, maps, religious relics, and the skeleton of Piltdown man. Good selected bibliography and index. Almost couldn't even find the Acknowledgements, which is great. But they are worth reading for the second to last paragraph in which he thanks ... HIMSELF. Nitpicking: Irritating graphic design. Silly fonts.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    I really enjoyed this book. It provides a pleasant overview of the most famous forgers and their methods throughout history, and it's accessible to pretty much anyone, whether they know a fair bit about art history or nothing at all, but it never talks down to the reader. The book itself, as an object, is beautiful, with high-quality pictures of most of the works it discusses in detail, and up to small details like the font it's set in. Noah Charney obviously knows what he's talking about, and wh I really enjoyed this book. It provides a pleasant overview of the most famous forgers and their methods throughout history, and it's accessible to pretty much anyone, whether they know a fair bit about art history or nothing at all, but it never talks down to the reader. The book itself, as an object, is beautiful, with high-quality pictures of most of the works it discusses in detail, and up to small details like the font it's set in. Noah Charney obviously knows what he's talking about, and while his tone is mostly matter-of-fact, he occasionally writes sentences like this one: Part prank, part raising of two fingers to the establishment, part test of one's prowess, revenge, for these forgers, is a dish best served at auction. This, together with the couple of instances in which he refers to forgery as "the dark arts," makes the reading experience delightful. I have a couple of reservations, for instance about the somewhat arbitrary division into chapters according to the primary motivation of the forgers (pride, revenge, fame etc.) instead of a more to-the-point chronological perspective. It also seems strange that, while the author takes a stand against those who would excuse forgery as a "victimless crime," his book is called The Art of Forgery and the cover uses a copy of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring by former forger John Myatt, who I assume is profiting from this on some level. Mostly, though, I wish the book had been longer. I remember, for instance, reading an article about the Beltracchis online in which I learnt more about them than I did with this book. Then again, I assume that this book isn't meant as an encyclopedia about forgery, just as an overview -- and as a light, informative, beautiful book, it's pretty much perfect.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Madeeha Maqbool

    Brilliant, insightful and thanks to my book instagram account i have sunk to single adjectives in my reviews here. sorry

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caterina Pierre

    This is a good survey of fakes and forgeries, covering the major cases in the history of art. It represents a decade of work by Noah Charney on the subject. I enjoyed reading it, and I think it is a readable text; one does not need a Ph.D. in Art History to understand it. I think it would make for a good introductory reading to any class that deals with authenticity. The reason I knocked a star off was because of a few items that irritated me while reading it, including poor editing of the text This is a good survey of fakes and forgeries, covering the major cases in the history of art. It represents a decade of work by Noah Charney on the subject. I enjoyed reading it, and I think it is a readable text; one does not need a Ph.D. in Art History to understand it. I think it would make for a good introductory reading to any class that deals with authenticity. The reason I knocked a star off was because of a few items that irritated me while reading it, including poor editing of the text (missed punctuation, calling drawings "paintings" somewhat interchangeably in one section that was clearly an error); odd statements such as saying Napoleon's looting was "the first major, organized military looting on an unprecedented scale," as if the Roman looting of Jerusalem didn't happen and wasn't recorded on the Arch of Titus; misattributions in captions (p. 204); and the last chapter of the book, which is a minestrone soup of fakes and forgeries that aren't related to the fine arts (wine, skulls, poems), that deviate from the point of the book. However, it does have a conclusion that suggests how we can protect the art historical record going forward, a useful glossary of technical terms for conservation techniques, and a good bibliography for further reading on the fake cases mentioned in the text. Overall an enjoyable read.

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