Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
by Laney Salisbury [364.163 Sal]

When art collectors and dealers pay the big, big bucks for artwork, they also expect to get the provenance of the piece they are buying. Detailing the history of a painting or sculpture, the provenance tells not just who created it, but where it's been, and who has owned it. But what if the provenance itself is a fake, and the painting they're so proudly displaying is the work of a talented forger? That's the situation in which many art buyers found themselves during the decade-long art scam perpetrated by Britain's John Myatt and Dr. John Drewe, the central figures in this fascinating book. Myatt is the talented, but commercially unsuccessful, painter who creates "new" works by well-known modern artists, while Drewe (no doctor at all) creates the documents and paper trail designed to make them salable. They should have been caught again and again, but Drewe uses his considerable charm and complete lack of ethics to convince his willing scam victims that everything is on the up-and-up. Though they were eventually nabbed by Scotland Yard investigators, Drewe and Myatt were able to continually dupe art scholars and dealers who should have seen through them immediatley, but often had their own reasons not to look too closely. This book will keep you turning pages, with its view behind the scenes at some of England's finest museums and galleries, and glimpse into the mind of an undeniably intelligent, but completely unscrupulous confidence man and the people, both unwitting and complicit, who helped him pull off one of the greatest art scams in history. -- recommended by Lisa V. - Eiseley Branch Library

[ official Provenance page on the official Laney Salisbury web site ]

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