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Provenance: how a con man and a forger rewrote the history of modern art

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  • Cover of book entitled: Provenance: how a con man and a forger rewrote the history of modern art

Zlata H. | January 13, 2014

Investigative journalists Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo expertly and engagingly open the door to the sinister side of the art world.   The main players in this real life drama are John Drewe, the incredible con man who masterminded the art forgery operation and John Myatt, an unaccomplished British painter with the knack for other artists’ techniques.   Between1986 and 1995, John Myatt forged and faked approximately 200 paintings of modern artists; John Drewe ensured their sale and went a step further.  Having had access to archives of prominent galleries, such as Tate Gallery, he modified the provenance of the original paintings to “legitimize” the forgeries created by John Myatt and thereby altered some parts of art history. A provenance is a resume of the art work, its creation, ownership, exhibitions, sales and it is one of the integral elements in its authentication.   This diabolical but definitely ingenious work has left quite a bit of a chaos in the art world, shattered some lives and bruised few experts ‘egos. A number of counterfeits, most likely still grace the walls of some galleries and private collections.  Thorough research, vivid characters and situations make this an exceptional work, a page turner that reads like mystery.

Book Information: Provenance: how a con man and a forger rewrote the history of modern art by Laney Salisbury and Sujo Aly. Penguin Press, 2009.