Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger

Hachette. Nov. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780306826481. $29. CRIME
Tetro may have been an art forger, but his story is unique. Told with the help of investigative journalist Ambrosi, who followed Tetro’s story for 20 years, this account starts with Tetro’s 1989 California arrest and takes readers through his life, from his becoming a New York high school dropout with a pregnant girlfriend, to California furniture salesman, and later to master art forger and high roller. This book shows that as long as a work appears original and has a suitable faked certificate of authenticity, many wealthy customers and art dealers are happy to acquire it due to the potential profit. Readers will learn about his highly skilled art forging techniques, which won’t work now, and how he became wealthy as a result, although he squandered much of it on drugs, travel, women, and Ferraris. The chapter on how his forged paintings ended up in Prince Charles’s residence is priceless. With a companion documentary slated for release early next year, the entertaining book is a must read.
VERDICT Art and true crime lovers will likely devour this tale of Tetro’s escapades.
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