Customer Reviews for

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    Fascinating story of a master con artist!

    Provenance seems like a straightforward art forgery story until you get into the convoluted mind of John Drewe. A man so warped he would deep-six the only friends he had, including his common law wife, Drewe takes the art world unawares, breaches the sanctity of the proof of authenticity, provenance, and nearly gets away with it.

    Salisbury and Sujo create a very readable narrative of this true crime story, the victims (the forger, friends, museums, etc.), the villain, and the heroes of the Art and Antiques squad at New Scotland Yard. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    This is a winner!!

    This book was suggested for my book club. I haven't finished it yet - I'm about 1/2 way through but I can't put it down. I keep telling myself this is a true story but I keep thinking it's a nove. You don't have to be a big art fan to appreciate the scam and all the details that go into it.

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  • Posted December 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book is an amazing tale that I still tell people about, eve

    This book is an amazing tale that I still tell people about, even though I read it a few years ago.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Completely absorbing...the audiobook is brilliant, too

    This is a mind-bending walk through The Art of the Con as practiced by con-master John Drewe, simultaneously and serially known as John Cockett, a different Mr. Cockett, Mr. Sussman, Mr. Green, Mr. Atwood, Mr. Martin, Mr. Bayard, and Mr. Coverdale. John Drewe and the skilled painter John Myatt together perpetrated one of the longest-running and most extensive art frauds of the late 20th century, extending from London to America and the continent, and from there around the world. Breathtaking high-wire stunts of impersonation and art forgery, archive-diving and modification, provenance creation and solicitation all came to a halt nearly a decade after it had begun when a few of the more than two hundred paintings Myatt had forged and sold came to the attention of New Scotland Yard's chief of The Art and Antiques Squad, Dick Ellis. The discussion of the fraud holds one kind of fascination; the gathering of evidence and the actual trial holds different thrills. John Drewe was undoubtedly one of the finest liar-performers ever uncovered, and in fact, the con has become known as John Drewe's "performance piece" by insiders and investigators. Drewe kept such an enormous cache of personae in the air at the same time and convinced so many of his rectitude that one would simply love to see him act, as long as his mental acuity was not aimed at one's life savings, nor one's unprotected heart. While all of this completely absorbing story holds interest for the reader, I especially loved the graceful way it ended. We learn of the take-down, the trial, the sentencing, and the after-trial outcomes. This is a marvelously-told story with lessons for us all. I can heartily recommend the audiobook narrated by Marty Peterson, though I did listen to it on slow speed. At normal speed I was getting so much info I couldn't keep track of names and places.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read!

    I had a hard time putting this book down. I know nothing whatsoever about the art world, but am starting to get interested in antique paintings, so I picked this book up, not having any expectations. It was a fascinating read about the way the art world works, how paintings are authenticated, etc. It was clearly meticulously researched and the efforts show. It was a great intro to the world of paintings and has prompted me to read more widely on this subject.

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