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The Art Forger: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
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The Art Forger: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by B. A. Shapiro

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5891687,251 (3.72)149
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)
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:The Art Forger: A Novel
Authors:B. A. Shapiro
Info:Algonquin Books (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Loaned from Library
Rating:***
Tags:Non Fiction, Art, Forgery

Work details

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (2012)

Recently added byohmercury, UtopianPessimist, DFED, private library, tyringham, sudsyswish, Coffee.Cat, dana77kc
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» See also 149 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
Too often, traditional art galleries hang paintings with brief labels- title, date painted, artist with perhaps years of birth and death, and little else. The viewer must fill in the rest. Beyond a feeling of attraction or not, for one without a background in art, this can a futile exercise. In The Art Forger, I learned a lot about painting and the process of making and remaking art.

The novel takes place in Boston. All the famous places and artists mentioned are real. So is the fact of the unsolved theft of 13 paintings from the Isabelle Gardner Museum in 1990. But the painting of the story is fiction, as are the modern day painters, curators and events. The story of the forgery of a forgery is compelling, and Claire the artist heroine is sympathetic. The story romps to it's conclusion keeping the reader "on the edge."

The next time I stand in front of a painting I like, I'll muse more on the making of it, and allow myself some enjoyable fictionalizing! ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
The Art Forger

What would any of us be willing to do to secure our ambition?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SUMMARY
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history. Claire Roth a struggling young artist is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Claire makes a living reproducing famous artwork for a popular online retailer and she is desperate to improve her situation. Claire is lured into a bargain with Aiden Markel a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting, a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum, in exchange for a one woman show in his renowned gallery. But when missing Degas paining is delivered to Clare studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit were secrets hidden since the late 19th century maybe the only evidence that can now save her life.

“Without light nothing can been seen. And with it, still so much is unobserved.”

REVIEW
THE ART FORGER was as captivating as a Degas canvas. The story cleverly weaves a plot that includes both facts and fiction that seems ripped from the headlines real. But only a few parts are real. The famous art collector and museum founder Isabella Stewart Gardner, her museum in Boston, and the 1990 art heist are of course real. But the specific After the Bath painting referenced here, and the art forgery and surrounding events, are not real. I alway appreciate when an author who is writing historical fiction clearly identifies what is and isn’t factual. Author B. A. SHAPIRO did a great job of this at the end of the book.

Claire Roth’s character is superbly developed. She’s impressively talented and ambitious but she can’t catch a break, that is until she meets Aiden Markel. She’s vulnerable and in need of money and she finds herself making a Faustian bargain to secure her own art show...her future. Don’t judge her to harshly...she draws you into the story and teaches you a thing or two about art. She keeps you on the edge of your seat...is she good enough to forge a Degas? What if she is?

If you like art, you’ll love this book. It’s entertaining, compelling and clever. B.A. Shapiro is a bestselling author of The Muralist (2015) and The Art Forger (2012), both stories of works of art, mystery, history with a little romance thrown in. I listened to the audio version of the book, and Xe Sands does a fabulous job with narration.

Publisher Algonquin Books/Highbridge Audio
Published October 23, 2012
Narrated Xe Sands
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Aug 12, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (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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Epigraph
A painting is above all a product of the artist's imagination; it must never be a copy.
--Edgar Degas
Dedication
To Dan, who never gave up
First words
I step back and scrutinize the paintings.
Quotations
A painting is above all a product of the artist's imagination; it must never be a copy. --- Edgar Degas
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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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