Art forgery  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Art forgery refers to creating and, in particular, selling works of art that are falsely attributed to be work of another, usually more famous, artist. Art forgery is extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler.


Fictional art forgery


TV series

  • White Collar is a series about Neal Caffrey, a convicted art forger who starts working with the FBI.


  • Tom Ripley is involved in an artwork forgery scheme in several of Patricia Highsmith's crime novels, most notably Ripley Under Ground (1970), in which he is confronted by a collector who correctly suspects that the paintings sold by Tom are forgeries. The novel was adapted to film in 2005, and the 1977 film The American Friend is also partially based on the novel.
  • In Robertson Davies' 1985 novel What's Bred in the Bone, protagonist Francis Cornish studies with an accomplished art forger and is inspired to produce two paintings which are subsequently accepted by experts as original 16th-century artworks.
  • In Russell H. Greenan's novel It Happened in Boston?, the protagonist is a madman, a serial killer, and an astonishingly good artist in the Old Master style, fooled into creating a painting that becomes accepted as a da Vinci.
  • The Art Thief, an international best-selling novel by professor of art history Noah Charney, features a series of forgeries and art heists.
  • In Clive Barker's 1991 novel Imajica, the protagonist, John Furie Zacharias, known as "Gentle," makes his living as a master art forger.
  • William Gaddis' acclaimed 1955 novel The Recognitions centers on the life of an art forger and prodigal Calvinist named Wyatt Gwyon and his struggle to find meaning within art. The novel itself discusses the process and history of forgery in depth as well as the possible artistic merit of forged paintings.
  • David Mitchell's novel Ghostwritten features a section set in the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, and follows a crime syndicate that steals artwork from the museum to sell on the black market, replacing the originals with high quality forgeries.

See also

Famous forgeries

Known art forgers and dealers of forged art

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Art forgery" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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