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How much is “America’s first and only great art forger,” as the jacket copy describes the author, willing to reveal? Quite a lot, it seems. Perenyi, a graduate of a New Jersey technical school and a Vietnam draft dodger, fell in with a band of artistic New Yorkers and began imitating long-gone masters such as James E. Buttersworth and Martin Johnson Heade. The trick, he learned, was the peripheral details: the materials to which the canvas was fixed, the frame, a faux-aged stain. Perenyi took his canvases to New York antiques shops and specialty galleries, told a tale about a deceased uncle with treasures in his attic, and, more often than not, sold his wares. Some of his paintings reached the upper echelons of the art world and were brokered or bought by famous auction houses.
“I never told them the paintings were for real,” Perenyi said to his lawyers in the 1990s, when he found himself at the center of an FBI investigation. “It wasn’t my fault that Christie’s, Phillips, Sotheby’s and Bonhams sold them.” The investigation abruptly ended (the book never makes clear precisely what happened, and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure,” which may explain the absence of news related to the matter). There are, of course, many morally abhorrent moments in this story but it’s hard not to like this surprisingly entertaining tale of the art world’s shady side. Perenyi is culpable, but he may have had some help from the dealers and auction houses that looked the other way to make a buck.
” (The Smithsonian Magazine)
The book is written in a very easy to read manner and is very interesting.
Hearing the whole story from Perenyi himself made the whole thing feel very real and personal, and I have never read anything else like it.
Highly recommend this book for anyone interested in art, art crime, American culture, 1970s/80s, or just wants a good read.
Medicus Gaius Petreius Ruso and wife Tilla have arrived in Londinium, where friend Valens has arranged for an assignment as investigator for the tax office. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Joe Da Rold
A fascinating account of the life of an art forger. A wild ride that left me wanting more, even at the end.Published 1 month ago by Caddis
Very interesting and makes you realize super expensive art is mainly marketing .Published 1 month ago by Ronald James Smith
This was a fascinating account of an art forger. He also goes into detail of some of his methods on how he obtains the right aged lookPublished 1 month ago by H0lyD1ver
Very interesting life did Ken Perenyi have. Seems like a very unusual man to be an art Forger.Published 1 month ago by Gary Steffen
The writing is lackluster and the characters very one dimensional but the description of how the author painted his fakes and did restorations was interesting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. Jensen
fascinating , intriguing, suspenseful and utterly unbelievable given the length of time and the close calls!!!Published 2 months ago by Betty