The Art Forger: A Novel

The Art Forger: A Novel

4.1 105
by B. A. Shapiro
     
 

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Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a

Overview

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas. 


Editorial Reviews

Review

Boston Globe's Best Crime Books of 2012
2012 NetGalley Pick
Kobo's Best Fiction Ebooks of 2012

The Art Forgeris the real thing.”—USAToday.com

“[A] nimble mystery.”—The New York Times Book Review

"Gripping." —O, The Oprah Magazine

“[A] highly entertaining literary thriller about fine art and foolish choices.” —Parade

"Precise and exciting . . . Readers seeking an engaging novel about artists and art scandals will find "The Art Forger" rewarding for its skillful balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered narration rich with a sense of moral consequence." —The Washington Post

"If Bridget Jones's Diary and The Da Vinci Code had a love child, this would be it." —Elle (Reader's Panel Reviewer)

“[Shapiro] has such interesting things to say about authenticity—in both art and love—that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Ingeniously and skillfully plotted." —The Huffington Post

“Warning: Don’t dig into this book if you have something to do . . . An addictive thriller.” —Redbook

“An engaging tale about art, cupidity, and a Faustian bargain . . . Shapiro convincingly depicts the rarefied art world that lionizes a chosen few and ignores the talented, scrabbling outsiders on the fringe. Shapiro is adept, too, at showing the white-hot heat of an artist engaged in creating a painting. She knows art history, painting techniques, and how forgers have managed through the centuries to dupe buyers into paying for fakes . . . Inventive and entertaining.” —The Boston Globe

“Smart, sexy . . . spellbinding.”Redbookmag.com

“An intelligent, cleverly plotted page-turner.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Engaging storytelling. Intelligent entertainment.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the Publisher

Boston Globe’s Best Crime Books of 2012

2012 NetGalley Pick

Kobo’s Best Fiction Ebooks of 2012

"Gripping." —O, The Oprah Magazine


"Precise and exciting . . . Readers seeking an engaging novel about artists and art scandals will find “The Art Forger” rewarding for its skillful balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered narration rich with a sense of moral consequence.”—The Washington Post

“If Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Da Vinci Code had a love child, this would be it.”—Elle (Reader's Panel Reviewer)

“Ingeniously and skillfully plotted.”—The Huffington Post

"A cleverly plotted art-world thriller/romance . . . . convincingly researched, engaging storytelling. Intelligent entertainment." --Kirkus Reviews

"Filled with delightful twists, turns, and ruminations on what constitutes truth in art." —Publishers Weekly

"By page two of this novel, the reader is fully engrossed into the world of struggling artist Claire Roth, nicknamed "The Great Pretender" who copies famous paintings for a website called Reproductions.com . . . A highly recommended debut that would be great for book discussion groups." —Library Journal

"Classy and pleasurably suspenseful . . . an entrancingly visual, historically rich, deliciously witty, sensuous, and smart tale of authenticity versus fakery in which Shapiro artfully turns a clever caper into a provocative meditation on what we value most." —Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Shapiro’s new novel (after The Safe Room) is filled with delightful twists, turns, and ruminations on what constitutes truth in art. Broke and painting copies of famous artists’ work for a reproduction site, artist Claire Roth is enticed by gallery owner Aidan Markel’s request to forge a painting by Degas that was stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in 1990 (in the largest unsolved art heist in history). As Claire works, she wonders if the painting she’s forging is legitimate. Meanwhile, Claire steps in when her blocked artist lover can’t finish his work for a deadline, essentially painting what becomes something of an art world sensation. Her lover slips into denial about her contribution and Clair weighs the repercussions of going public, knowing that it will damage her reputation even more badly than her heart. An intricate shell game exploring the permutations of the craft and ethics of art, Shapiro’s novel is a lively ride, melding Claire’s discoveries with fictionalized 19th-century letters from Gardner that hint at even deeper complexities. The wit, Claire’s passion for her work, what it takes to create a piece that can pass modern scrutiny, and the behind-the-scenes look at the lives of working artists and the machinations of the art world overcome an ending that ties things up too neatly. The choice of present tense for much of the book keeps the reader at a remove from the action, but Shapiro’s research, well-integrated into a strong premise, captivates. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (Oct. 23)
Library Journal
By page two of this novel, the reader is fully engrossed into the world of struggling artist Claire Roth, nicknamed "The Great Pretender" who copies famous paintings for a website called Reproductions.com. When Aidan Markel, the handsome owner of a prestigious gallery, offers her a show of her own work in exchange for forging a painting, she reluctantly agrees. He brings two paintings to her studio, a supposedly original Degas called After the Bath and a work by an obscure painter of the same size and age. A Degas expert, Claire determines that the Degas in her studio is itself a forgery, and she's the only who knows. Stripping the paint off of the lesser-known work, she creates another forgery, doing such a good job that art authenticators think it is the original Degas, missing from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 1990. (Thirteen works worth over $500 million were actually stolen from the museum at that time.) Aidan lands in jail when the copy is seized by the FBI, and Claire will be too unless she finds the original Degas. In this enthralling intrigue, the yearning to own an original work of art is thoughtfully explored, and the text is interspersed with letters from Gardner herself, describing her relationships with the artists whose work she collected. VERDICT This well-researched work combines real elements (though After the Bath never existed) with the understanding that the art world is as fragile and precarious as the art itself, particularly for young hopefuls. A highly recommended debut that would be great for book discussion groups.—Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616203160
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
05/21/2013
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
64,437
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“A clever, twisty novel about art, authenticity, love, and betrayal. B. A. Shapiro knows about Degas, and she knows about art theft and forgery, and she also knows how to tell a gripping story.”
—Tom Perrotta

“Blazingly good. Shapiro drops you where you’ve never been before, into the whole, crackingly alive world of art galleries, art forgeries, and the unexpected recesses of the human heart. As original as a real Degas, it’s also as unforgettable.”
—Caroline Leavitt,New York Timesbestselling author ofPictures of You

“An engaging journey. Will not only keep you as entertained as any thriller but leave you with a new appreciation of how paintings are made, evaluated, and understood—not to mention how they’re copied.”
—Arthur Golden, bestselling author ofMemoirs of a Geisha

Meet the Author

B. A. Shapiro is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller The Art Forger. She has taught sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University and lives in Boston with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Sagan. Her website is www.bashapirobooks.com.

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The Art Forger 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such a fun story, especially made for art lovers and museum enthusiasts. Reads like a great beach read; the story is interesting enough that you want to tear through it, but not quite the page-turner of Hunger Games or Gone Girl. Even so, i will read it again, and soon, because of course my curiosity rushed me through. Clare's story is told through three different story lines that come together beautifully in the end without redundancies, which impressed me. The first story of her history three years ago: her torrid affair with a married art professor, a tortured artist type, and their "collaborative" painting she paints for him while he suffers a creative block in order that he not miss a great opportunity to show at New York's MOMA. The second storyline, told thru letter's of Isabelle Gardner about her friendship with Edgar Degas in 1890's Paris, which will help explore some of the mystery surrounding the Gardner Museum of Boston and the famous unsolved heist of paintings including one masterwork of Degas. The current storyline of Clare's life as a struggling artist who pays the rent by painting reproductions of masterworks, specializing in Degas while she bides her time waiting for discovery and a show of her own. Clare is offered an opportunity she cannot pass up from a promiment (and of course superbly attractive) gallery owner, something so great she wonders if it is a deal with the devil... and indeed, it may be. It makes for some very fun, very interesting, very imaginative reading!
dnae More than 1 year ago
Oh wow, this book is just captivating! I wanted to immediately read it again when I was finished! The suspense definitely had me going hours on end with this book and I didn't want to put it down. I kept wanting to know more about Claire's past with Isaac and her future with Aiden, her past with scandal and her future with forgery. When would Claire learn that her dependency on men to get ahead in the world as an artist only causes trouble? "When I accepted Markel's offer, I thought I'd be learning at the feet of a master painter; instead, my most powerful lessons have come from a master forger." (loc.1664) I had no idea how this book would pan out, and the ending was very satisfying. Perhaps it's because of my own love and hobby of the arts that sparks my intrigue, but the author did a wonderful job in telling this story. The slight of humor, the intensity of seriousness, the lightness in characterization was great! In particular I love the imagery she uses, as well as the metaphors and the personification of the artwork. I will absolutely want to reread this book again, as well as any other books by B.A. Shapiro. First Line: "I step back and scrutinize the paintings." (loc. 13) Last Line: "And no matter how big the commissions or how great the museums, I suppose I'll never know." (loc. 3815) ------- Quotes "The sweet possibility of reclaiming all that's been lost, everything I've ever wanted. But a forger? A pretender? The absolute last thing I want to be." (loc. 152) "'It's your call, Claire,' he reminds me. 'I can get someone else if I have to...' Someone else? 'Okay,' I tell him. 'I'm in.'" (loc. 404) "A writer friend once told me that when she walks into a library anywhere in the world, the smell makes her feel instantly at home." (loc. 730) "I'm astonished I was able to fool myself for as long as I did. That I, a self-proclaimed Degas expert, could be so taken in. I felt the truth the first moment I set eyes on the painting, yet I convinced myself otherwise. And I'm not alone." (loc. 1054) "A woman who makes a Faustian bargain is not without responsibility." (loc. 3810)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Art Forger was recommended to me by my mother's best friend who is very well read...so I knew it was going to be good! This book caught my attention from the beginning! I am from Boston and very familiar with the Isabelle Gardner Museum heist. This past week there has also been a lot of hype due to new evidence in the case. If you like art history and historical fiction then you will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good mystery about the meaning of art. Highly recommended.
DeeBurke More than 1 year ago
A fun and fascinating mystery. From the first page I was engaged in the story and found it difficult to put the book down. The intertwining of fictionalized events involving people who once lived and the facts surrounding the infamous (and still unsolved) theft of 13 works of art from the Garner Museum, coupled with an intriguing what-if scenario about the reappearance of one of those missing treasures decades after the fact make a very satisfying story. Glimpses into the art world and the art of forgery add color and texture without distraction. I highly recommend The Art Forger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of books and I have to say that The Art Forger is my favorite, it just kept me reading when ever I had time to do so. Great book. B.A. Shapiro, I can't wait for your next book.
Birdie9 More than 1 year ago
Excellent.
JakeJH More than 1 year ago
Great book. I have no knowledge or particular interest in art, but the author weaves together a compelling story. 
Bettle More than 1 year ago
If your interested in oil paintings this is a good story and a look into the art world you may not know.
Carmelin More than 1 year ago
If you like museums, art, impressionism and mysteries this book will keep you interested for one night..... My only concern is that there were no more pages to read
MargoH 3 months ago
An engaging story. The story is a fascinating look at the art world (of which I knew very little). This novel is filled with mystery and suspense without anyone being murdered. And it even features a surprising ending. Great entertainment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like art and it's history you will like this boook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One would run down the street shaking paper to get the ink dry this is so easy on several modern artists that they say one half can be fake! Since photo etching came in some modern etchings by well known artists are suspect as being drawibgs turned inti etchings and hard to prove the copy right laws on modern art might slow sale of but not just copy. Will they go to extreme for just a cooy as they threaten with dvds and cds?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story that weaves past, present and the facinating world of artists and collectors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally enjoyed this book and have recommended it for my book club. It is wonderful fiction but the art heist, which is the central core of the story, actually happened. A good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking novel with an interesting topic. Makes you wonder about the world of art forgery. Are the works we see in museums always originals? Claire, is an interesting main character, whose knowledge has you referencing multiple topics! Fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is well thought out and internally consistent. The writing is lively and engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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glssgirl73 More than 1 year ago
A fun read, well written and will look for more B.A. Shapiro books to buy.
sunnyreader484 More than 1 year ago
This book is suspenseful and a thought provoking story. How many masterpieces hanging in museums are fakes? After reading this book I believe that we see what we want to see. You will enjoy reading The Art Forger.