Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

Laney Salisbury

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0143117408

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The true story of one of the twentieth century's most audacious art frauds

Filled with extraordinary characters and told at breakneck speed, Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller. But this is most certainly not fiction. It is the astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to New York, investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the tale of infamous con man and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt. Together they exploited the archives of British art institutions to irrevocably legitimize the hundreds of pieces they forged, many of which are still considered genuine and hang in prominent museums and private collections today.

Darger’s Resources

Decadence, Degeneration, and the End: Studies in the European Fin de Siècle

Great Paintings: The World's Masterpieces Explored and Explained

Garo Z. Antreasian: Reflections on Life and Art

Artpool: The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe

Architecture and Mathematics from Antiquity to the Future, Volume 1: Antiquity to the 1500s

















boasted a rich musical, literary, and political history: the Irish revolutionary Roger Casement was hanged there in 1916; Oscar Wilde did time there, as did Hugh Cornwell, the lead singer for the punk/new wave band the Stranglers. A decade after Drewe’s stint, the proto-punk singer Pete Doherty, who modeled himself on the elegant wastrels of the 1970s, also served a short sentence there. On arrival, Drewe was marched down a long corridor straight to the hospital wing. His manner had become

(May 1988). Hirschberg, Lynn. “The Four Brushmen of the Apocalypse.” Esquire, March 1987. Honigsbaum, Mark. “The Master Forger.” The Guardian (London), Dec. 8, 2005. Howe, Melvyn. “Puppet Master.” The Journal (Newcastle), Feb. 13, 1999. Hughes, Robert. “Sold!” Time, Nov. 27, 1989. ———. “Brilliant, But Not for Real.” Time, May 7, 1990. James, Marianne. “Art Crime.” Australian Institute of Criminology no. 170 (October 2000). Januszczak, Waldemar. “All Nash and No Bite—The ICA Has Become a

been stamped by the Hanover Gallery’s official photographer. To Palmer’s surprise, the archivist was more than willing to accommodate her. Jennifer Booth had been watching Professor Drewe for the better part of a year. There was something odd about him, and she felt uneasy whenever he came into the reading room. He dressed beautifully and spent hours at the archives, but she sensed that behind his refined and articulate exterior he was out of his element, not quite sure how to behave. It

convinced to act on his behalf, and Stoakes’s too. Drewe waxed eloquent about their shared history and suggested they throw in their lot together. They were brothers in arms in a common struggle. He invited Stoakes to his new home in Reigate, two hours away by train. When Stoakes arrived at the station a day or two later, Drewe was waiting for him in the Bentley. As they drove up to the house, Stoakes admired the impressive garden. Inside, he saw that Drewe had turned the living room into a

with piles of documents scattered around them. Drewe had a supply of scissors and paste, and a small box filled with rubber stamps and tools a lepidopterist might have found useful. Once, she surprised him as he was using a small paring knife on a document. He told her he had lost the receipt for one of John Catch’s paintings and needed to “reproduce” it. He also told her he had inherited a dozen guns from his father and kept them in the attic. Once, at a particularly low point in their

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