Wednesday, July 10, 2013

All things fake

Another interesting summer read. I love the perfect interiors and peaceful inhabitants of Vermeer, one of my favorite painters.  This book tells the crooked story of how an artist opportunely adds to the Vermeer collection with his own work.  The 20th century artist hunted down 17th century canvases, scraped paint, ground colors with a pestle and ultimately fooled the art world.   The elaborate non-fiction pulls in the greed of Hitler and Goering and time and chance.  I wish someday I could see these paintings in person.  Until then, I will flip through glossy paged art books and watch shows like this:

Here is the book behind the con.  When you daydream that your five-year-old's crayon drawing will fetch a top price on the auction block at Soethby's...this is your read.  Don't for a minute pretend your child is a Picasso.  Let them sign their paintings themselves and skip the immense risk of art fraud.  After all, it is unlikely that you will go to the same extremes as Myatt's business partner, John Drewe, by crafting a provenance for the wee thing's "Snorkeling Butterfly."  The book paints a inner portrait of a person who becomes more and more delusional.   Lies breed further lies, and a fool can start believing the fiction that they created.  The brush strokes betray more than art, they betray greed, bravado and arrogance in the heart of an unregenerate crook.  It was a fascinating glimpse into the complicated underworld of the art con.

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