- Hardcover: 243 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1st edition (January 1, 1969)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 119904475X
- ISBN-13: 978-0070320475
- ASIN: 0070320470
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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FAKE! The Story of Elmyr de Hory, the Greatest Art Forger of Our Time
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Top Customer Reviews
As any fan of Orson Welles's F for Fake will already know, Elmyr de Hory was responsible for a real shake-up in the art community. For decades, he sold all over the world paintings of his own as the work of old masters. But his story never reads as a mean-spirited attempt to get rich, mostly due to the approach.
Author Clifford Irving (who would, just a few years after writing this book, pull off his own fake -- with the fictional Autobiography of Howard Hughes) portrays Elmyr as a sympathetic figure. He only did it when he needed money; when he was flush, he focused on his own art career, and never painted in others' styles during those periods.
Sadly, his own career never took off, and so he was repeatedly forced to go back into his particular bag of tricks and produce works in the styles of Picasso, Modigliani, Derain, Renoir, and others until he was finally caught, though he was never convicted due to what was essentially a technicality. Elmyr always claimed to have never signed any of the paintings (although his business partners may have) which keeps the paintings from being outright forgeries.
Fake! is a terrific book. Part biography, part crime story, part world travelogue, and probably part fiction, it remains wholly engaging and eminently readable.
As entertaining a character as de Hory was, however, his life was sad and tragic. I found myself alternating between feeling bad for him and feeling as though he had opportunities to change his situation. He (and one of his despised partners) were both so outrageous that they sometimes came across as caricatures, but the author verified witness accounts of their behaviors, so they were nevertheless believable.
The epilogue to the book (in which the author reveals some details that he couldn't reveal in the first publication of the book) was also very interesting and was necessary (in my opinion) to fully understanding the whole story.
I bought this book on Kindle and did notice some typos and formatting issues with the pictures of the forgeries, but it was still readable in this format.
Follow-up: In the epilogue, the author mentions "legal issues" with his publisher over another book about Howard Hughes. I decided to Google that to see what he was referring to. It turns out that he was accused of, and eventually admitted to, forging an autobiography of Howard Hughes. In the epilogue to Fake!Read more ›
The best parts are how they got away with it. The author seems to think the art dealers were naive but i think the lack of integrity on everyone's part lead to a lot of fake art that is probably still around. And perhaps it really does not matter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A true and spellbinding account of art faker. Reads like a fictional novel with just a few characters. Throughly enjoyable book fro a great author.Published 1 month ago by Kal
Irving seems to have taken Elmyr's account at face value, so this bio is only interesting as a fictional tale, since virtually everything about Elmyr has been subsequently refuted. Read morePublished 3 months ago by judith orlowski
Interesting subject,but lacks a lot of info. Tends to meander, I was expecting better.Published 3 months ago by G. Millar
I know that at the time of its original publication, Fake! was a big deal, so as a piece of cultural history it was worth reading. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Candy
A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a master artist. Beautifully crafted and easy to read. Highly recommend it for anyone interested in the world of fine art.Published 5 months ago by Caddis
Interesting account of high volume fraud spanning decades, which is also an ultimately rather sad story of a talented and likeable guy trying to survive on the wrong side of the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Wren
It's hard to like anything by the author, called a Liar by CBS News, for his part in the Howard Hughes non-biography.Published 5 months ago by Kamalani Hurley