Charles Hope writing for The New York Review of Books, examines three monographs about art forgery.  The books reviewed include Jonathan Keats’ Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age (Oxford University Press, 197 pp., $19.95); Thierry Lenain’s Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession (Reaktion, 383 pp., $55.00), and Ken Perenyi’s  Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger (Pegasus, 314 pp., $27.95).

Guy Isnard, a police official, curating an exhibition of fakes in Paris, 1955. Photo by Robert Cohen for Time-Life.

Hope begins: “The existence of a market for any kind of valuable object almost always encourages the production of counterfeits. It happens with drugs, banknotes, and designer handbags. It also happens with works of art. But whereas counterfeiting banknotes or other documents has always been considered a crime, attitudes toward art forgery have changed greatly over time, as Jonathon Keats and Thierry Lenain explain in their recent books. Keats provides a succinct, intelligent, and very readable summary of the subject, concentrating on some of the most famous modern art forgers, while Lenain, in a notably learned and wide-ranging text, goes into more detail and is more concerned with the broader implications of his topic.”

For the full text of the review visit TNYROB.

Source: Charles Hope, “The Art of the Phony” The New York Review of Books (Aug. 15, 2013).