Thursday, March 07, 2013

ART FORGER by B.A.Shapiro

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

I was one class short of majoring in Art History in college and I still have a soft spot for any stories having to do with art and the art world.  This fun book combines the world of forgery and art history with a little intrigue thrown in.  This much is true....In 1990, thirteen works of art were stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston.  They have never been recovered. This theft is the jumping off point for B.A. Shapiro's story.  Struggling artist Claire Roth is a pariah in the art world after having been involved in an art scandal with her former lover years ago. In order to make ends meet, she makes a living reproducing famous works of art for an online art retailer. When she is approached by famous art dealer Aidan Markel to forge a Degas masterpiece---the very one stolen from the Gardner Museum, Claire jumps at the chance to make some money while re-establishing herself as a legitimate artist. However, this Faustian bargain has consequences. As Claire works, she begins to suspect that the stolen art itself was forged long ago. She begins to research the piece and starts to unravel a mystery one hundred years in the making.

This was such a fun book!!!  It certainly got me thinking about how there are no guarantees that any of the works of art we see hanging in museums are the genuine article.  I thought Claire was a great character and I loved the backstory of how she got involved in her own art scandal. Not only do you get a fun art mystery but also a glimpse into the often cutthroat machinations of the art world.  Shapiro made the discovery of the missing piece and its origins so believable and compelling. After I finished reading the book, I had to go look up more information on the Gardner art heist to learn the truth.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A really fun read about famous works of art, forgery and the modern day art world. With a little suspense and mystery thrown in! This would be a great vacation read.

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