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The Art of Forgeries and Falsifications: Documentaries, Books, and Fascinating Stories About Art Scammers
The Art of Forgeries and Falsifications: Documentaries, Books, and Fascinating Stories About Art Scammers

From fakes to outright denial and ideological inspirers. Fakes are making headlines more than ever. Is it because we have become better at noticing them, or is this phenomenon related to technological progress?

It is significant that many respected museums and collectors at one time or another saw fakes on their walls. In 2014, the Swiss Institute of Fine Arts calculated that up to 50% of all works of art circulating on the market are in reality either fakes, misjudged, or copies. This figure is disputed, but even if it is only partly true, the picture is not very optimistic.

Best Documentary and Forger Films

Arts and Crafts by Sam Kallman and Jennifer GrausmanThis documentary is especially suitable for those who dive into the treacherous waters of counterfeiting and falsification for the first time. There is something deep and atypical about Mark A. Landis, the forger whose story lies at the heart of this film. Spoiler alert: he is the only forger who was "caught" but not prosecuted.

Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery by Arne Birkenstock

Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery by Arne BirkenstockThe plot revolves around the biggest art fake scandal in post-war Germany. Wolfgang Beltracki and his wife went through a lot for their work to appear on the art market: from staging portrait sessions to applying paints to canvas lying on a bridge. Wolfgang Beltracki has practiced the style of over 50 internationally renowned artists such as Max Ernst, Fernand Léger and Kees van Dongen. You can continue your immersion in the Beltracca scams by reading three more books written about his life and endless news on the CBS channel.

Get Tangled: A True Story of Fake Art by Barry AvrichIn 2011, Knoedler Gallery, one of the oldest commercial art galleries in the United States, was destroyed by a forgery scandal. Barry Avrich was able to capture on camera many of the central figures in the FBI investigation into the case. This is a documentary film with elements of suspense: a super-god collector, a Chinese forger - a professor of mathematics, the possibility of extradition and the risk of escape of the main characters.

No Fakes by Jamie KastnerNorval Morrisso, also known as the Brazen Thunderer, is often referred to as the Picasso of the North. He was a native Canadian artist from the First Nation of Bingwi Neyyashi Anishinabek and signed his paintings with the Cree syllabic script. As a self-taught artist, he created his own visual language based on ancient legends, myths, traditions and beliefs of his people and even his dreams. The story takes an unexpected turn when rock star Kevin Hearn (his band Barenaked Ladies wrote the theme song for The Big Bang Theory) decides to buy one of his pieces.

The Last Vermeer by Dan Friedkin

The Last Vermeer by Dan FriedkinThe plot is simple, but by no means obvious. An obsessed collector who wanted to assemble the most unique collection; a talented artist who, however, did not achieve the glory he was striving for, and all the vicissitudes of historical events that occurred during the Second World War. The same events were highlighted in the books of Edward Dolnik "The Forger's Spell: The True Story of Vermeer, the Nazis and the Greatest Artistic Deception of the Twentieth Century" and "The Man Who Made Vermeer" by Jonathan Lopez.

Interesting books on the topic of art fakes

A Forger's Tale: Confessions of a Bolton Forger by Sean GreenhalshLiterally with his own hands, the forger Sean Greenhalsh takes you to "the palaces … of his love for art and fooling people." For more than 17 years, Greenhalsch has created many forgeries and fakes so incredible that Scotland Yard and the London Police have called it potentially the most professional and dangerous team of forgeries in the world.

The Art of Scam by Anthony M. AmorIn her book, Amor tells many stories of counterfeiting, falsification, fraud and misattribution. This book keeps you on your toes by uncovering lesser-known cases and investigating some of the more famous. The chapter on the security service at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (the same one who is now experiencing a moment of glory on Netflix) is quite worthy of an action-packed thriller.

The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers by Noah CharneyThis book boldly begins with a preface: "The world wants to be deceived." She explores the reasons why counterfeiters and fraudsters do what they do, from pride to money, fame, opportunity, or power.

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