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The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro

The Art Forger (2012)

by B. A. Shapiro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5581707,237 (3.72)145
  1. 20
    The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith (ablachly)
  2. 00
    The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips (Lirmac)
    Lirmac: Both novels deal with forgery, but The Tragedy of Arthur makes notions of the false and the real the thematic heart of the book.
  3. 00
    Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 00
    The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith (mamzel)

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» See also 145 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
a good read ( )
  gayjeg | Apr 25, 2019 |
In this mystery-suspense by B.A. Shapiro, we meet Claire Roth who is a struggling artist with a past. She created a painting in the style of a famous and very successful artist who was also her lover. She created this painting to enable him to get past his depression and get started painting again. She gets rave reviews for the painting, but her lover claims her painting as his own. Then he dumps her. When Claire comes forward and wants credit for her painting, no one wants to believe her. In fact, gallery owners and museum administrators can’t possibly admit that she is the real artist because it means their competency would be in question, not to mention their financial stake in the famous artist would be compromised. Claire’s reputation is sullied, and no one will so much as look at her work much less agree to exhibit it.

To make ends meet, she embarks on a career as a copier of masterpieces. Then she is approached by a gallery owner who engages her to make a forgery of a Degas to be passed off and sold as the original. In return for the forgery, he promises a solo show at his gallery and support for her career development. Claire can’t resist the offer. Turns out the painting he wants her to forge is stolen.

I found Shapiro’s novel to be brilliant in explaining the process and techniques of forgery. I learned a lot about how forgeries are created and detected. It’s also a kind of psychological novel about compromised ethics. Claire’s willingness to enable her former artist lover is credible. Not credible is the romance she develops with the gallery owner. That just seemed tacked on. There is some suspense in the novel. But what is most compelling is recognition of those people who lurk around artists and who too often prey on artists to enhance their own careers. Since I am an artist myself, I have some experience with these individuals, many of whom can be best described as vultures. And there’s those strange people who are obsessive about owning an original masterpiece even if it means the painting has to be hidden away in the basement where it can never been seen again except by the owner. ( )
  C.J.Shane | Feb 21, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audiobook, so I don't know how much of that was influenced by Xe Sands amazing narration. First book that I've genuinely enjoyed in awhile. ( )
  eraderneely | Feb 14, 2019 |
Interesting story about the art world. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
Good read! I liked the first 2/3rds better than the last 1/3rd, but I'm glad I read this. ( )
  TM_White | Jan 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
Shapiro’s brisk narrative takes the reader through Boston’s art world, the logistics of forgery and the perils of attribution, shuttling between the present and three years earlier, when Claire lost Isaac and first straddled the line between copying and fraud. Interwoven are letters from Gardner to a fictitious niece, Amelia, tracing the obscure circumstances under which she acquired the Degas. (The real-life Gardner burned all her correspondence. If, as in Shapiro’s imagining, she acknowledged replies with “Thanksissimo,” perhaps it’s just as well.)

Readers looking for insight into the Gardner heist will have to go elsewhere. But readers seeking an engaging novel about artists and art scandals will find “The Art Forger” rewarding for its skillful balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered narration rich with a sense of moral consequence.


» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
B. A. Shapiroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sands, XeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrai, RobertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A painting is above all a product of the artist's imagination; it must never be a copy.
--Edgar Degas
To Dan, who never gave up
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I step back and scrutinize the paintings.
A painting is above all a product of the artist's imagination; it must never be a copy. --- Edgar Degas
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Book description
A Degas painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. A few years after suffering personal disappointment from her artist/lover which also cast her reputation away, a handsome suave art gallery owner enters her life with an intriguing proposition to help the museum, benefit mankind and recover her career aspirations at the same time.
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Boston painter Claire Roth has survived financially by painting reproductions, so when influential gallery owner Aiden Markel arrives with a bizarre proposal--her own show if she will forge a copy of a Degas, one of the pictures stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum--she says yes. As she works, Claire and Aiden become lovers, but she doesn't tell him about her discovery that the stolen Degas is itself a copy. This knowledge is Claire's lifeline when the finished forgery is discovered, Aiden and then Claire are both arrested, and only she can save them.… (more)

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