The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World

Palgrave Macmillan. Jul. 2015. 272p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781137279873. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781466879119. FINE ARTS
Art scams are so common today that many specialists shy away from authenticating artworks, which in the past ensured the works' authorship or originality, and thereby value. Amore (coauthor, Stealing Rembrandts), director of security at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and internationally recognized expert in the field of art theft and security, relies on interviews and newly released court documents to reveal some of the most notorious cons and their histories: the fakes, frauds, forgeries, Ponzi schemes, double-dealing, telescams, and more. Eleven chapters cover at least one case each in great detail. The author's clear and mostly factual approach examines the various mind sets and motivations of the criminals, art brokers, collectors, dealers, artists, and other individuals involved. Fascinating and at times spellbinding, this book reads like a series of case studies, setting forth the crimes of many well-known and lesser-known miscreants and entities.
VERDICT Of significant interest to art world aficionados, brokers, collectors, dealers, lawyers, professionals, and general readers, this ambitious, well-presented and well-documented survey belongs in public as well as academic and special libraries.

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