The Art Forger

( 73 )

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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Shapiro writes with assurance, even if she stumbles over the odd phrase or detail…For those willing to forgive the occasional misstep, The Art Forger will reward their forbearance and, through its engaging premise, their intelligence…In the end, with plots uncovered and deceptions laid bare, Shapiro's abiding mystery lies not in the act of forgery itself but in its elusive morality.
—Maxwell Carter
The Washington Post
Although billed as a thriller, the novel succeeds best in its more meditative stretches…Shapiro delves successfully into the moral and emotional dimensions of forgery, both through Claire's self-recriminations about the task at hand and through her reflections on an earlier scandal that scuttled her career. Shapiro's depiction of the politics and personal rivalries of the art world adds considerable depth here, and her accounts of the history of forging and of the technical processes that fool authenticators prove 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.
—Art Taylor
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)
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

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
Library Journal
This absorbing debut is grounded in the real-life theft of 13 artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston that would today be worth $500 million. Eager young artist Claire Roth supports herself by making reproductions of classic paintings. Promised a one-woman show, she agrees to forge a painting that turns out to be one of the stolen Gardner works.
Kirkus Reviews
A cleverly plotted art-world thriller/romance with a murky moral core. That nobody knows anything seems to be Shapiro's (The Safe Room, 2002, etc., as Barbara Shapiro) assessment of art authentication, given the number of misdetected paintings strewn through her engrossing if unlikely story. In Boston, painter Claire Roth has spent three years dealing with the guilt and scandal of her involvement with Isaac Cullion, whose breakthrough work, 4D, she painted for him when he was blocked. After the picture became a success, Cullion refused to acknowledge Claire's involvement, and her objections plus the attendant rumors led to his suicide and her vilification. Since then, she has survived financially by painting reproductions, so when influential gallery owner Aiden Markel arrives with a bizarre proposal--her own show if she will forge a copy of a Degas, one of the pictures stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum--she says yes. As she works, Claire and Aiden become lovers, but she doesn't tell him about her discovery that the stolen Degas is itself a copy. This knowledge is Claire's lifeline when the finished forgery is discovered, Aiden and then Claire are both arrested, and only she can save them. Despite a shaky premise, this is convincingly researched, engaging storytelling. Intelligent entertainment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616201326
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 266,621
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

B. A. Shapiro lives in Boston and teaches fiction writing at Northeastern university. Author website: www.BAShapiroBooks.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The ART FORGER

A NOVEL
By B. A. SHAPIRO

ALGONQUIN BOOKS OF CHAPEL HILL

Copyright © 2012 Barbara A. Shapiro
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61620-132-6


Chapter One

I step back and scrutinize the paintings. There are eleven, although I have hundreds, maybe thousands. My plan is to show him only pieces from my window series. Or not. I pull my cell from my pocket, check the time. I can still change my mind. I remove Tower, a highly realistic painting of reflections off the glass Hancock building, and replace it with Sidewalk, an abstraction of Commonwealth Avenue through a parlor-level bay window. Then I switch them back.

I've been working on the window series for over two years, rummaging around the city with my sketchbook and Nikon. Church windows, reflective windows, Boston's ubiquitous bays. Large, small, old, broken, wood-and metal-framed. Windows from the outside in and the inside out. I especially like windows on late winter afternoons before anyone inside notices the darkening sky and snaps the blinds shut.

I hang Sidewalk next to Tower. Now there are a dozen, a nice round number. But is it right? Too many and he'll be overwhelmed. Too few and he'll miss my breadth, both in content and style. It's so difficult to choose. One of the many reasons studio visits make me so nervous.

And what's up with this visit anyway? I'm a pariah in the art world, dubbed "the Great Pretender." Have been for almost three years. And suddenly Aiden Markel, the owner of the world-renowned Markel G, is on his way to my loft. Aiden Markel, who just a few months ago barely acknowledged my presence when I stopped by the gallery to see a new installation. And now he's suddenly all friendly, complimentary, asking to see my latest work, leaving his tony Newbury Street gallery to slum it in SOWA in order to appreciate my paintings, as he said, "in situ."

I glance across the room at the two paintings sitting on easels. Woman Leaving Her Bath, a nude climbing out of a tub and attended to by a clothed maid, was painted by Edgar Degas in the late nineteenth century; this version was painted by Claire Roth in the early twenty-first. The other painting is only half-finished: Camille Pissarro's The Vegetable Garden with Trees in Blossom, Spring, Pontoise à la Roth. Reproductions.com pays me to paint them, then sells the paintings online as "perfect replicas" whose "provenance only an art historian could discern" for ten times my price. These are my latest work.

I turn back to my windows, pace, narrow my eyes, pace some more. They'll just have to do. I throw a worn Mexican blanket over the rumpled mattress in the corner then gather the dirty dishes scattered around the studio and dump them in the sink. I consider washing them, decide not to. If Aiden Markel wants in situ, I'll give him in situ. But I do fill a bowl with cashews and pull out a bottle of white wine—never red at a studio visit—and a couple of glasses.

I wander to the front of the studio and look out the row of windows onto Harrison Avenue. The same view as Loft. I spend a lot of time in this spot, pretending to work through my latest project, but mostly daydreaming, spying, procrastinating. It's four stories up, and each of the six windows in front of me stretches from two feet above the floor to two feet below the fifteen-foot ceiling.

This building was once a factory—handkerchiefs, some old-timer told me. But the old-timers aren't known for their veracity, so it could have been hats or suspenders or maybe not even a factory at all. Now it's a warren of artists' studios, some, as in my case, live-in studios. Illegal, of course, but cheap.

According to media hype, SOWA—South of Washington—is the new trendy district in the south end of Boston's South End; the north was the new trendy area about ten years ago. But to me, and to anyone who spends any time here, it's barely on the cusp. Warehouses, projects, a famous homeless shelter, and abandoned basketball courts form the base of a neighborhood erratically pockmarked with expensive restaurants, art galleries, and pristine residential buildings protected by security. The roar of I-93 is so constant it sounds like silence. I wouldn't want to live any where else.

Below, Aiden Markel turns the corner from East Berkeley with his lanky, graceful stride. Even from half a block away, I can see he's wearing perfectly tailored pants—most likely linen—and what's probably a $500 shirt. It's eighty-five degrees on a late summer after noon, and the guy looks as if he stepped out of his Back Bay condo on a cool September morning. He pulls out his cell, glances at my building, and touches the screen. My phone rings.

There's no elevator and no air-conditioning in the hallways and stairwells. As we hit the fourth floor, Markel's breathing is steady and his clothes are bandbox. Clearly, the man spends time in the gym. Not to mention that he hasn't stopped talking since I let him in the door. No one would guess we've barely spoken to each other in three years.

"I was around the corner from here just the other day," Markel says, continuing his running monologue of small talk. "Dedham and Harrison. Looked at Pat Hirsi's newest project. You know him, right?"

I shake my head no.

"He's working with cobblestones. Very ingenious."

I pull open the wide steel door with two hands.

Markel steps over the threshold, takes a deep breath, and closes his eyes. "Nothing like the smell of an artist at work." He keeps his eyes closed, which isn't exactly what I want him to do; he's supposed to be here to look at my paintings, fall in love with them, and set me up with a one-woman show at Markel G. Right. Like that's going to happen. Although, what is going to happen or why he's here is beyond me.

"How about a glass of wine?" I ask.

He finally opens his eyes and gives me a slow, warm smile. "Will you be joining me?"

I can't help but smile back. He's not classically handsome, his features are too large for that, but there's something in the way he carries himself, the wide deep-set eyes, the dimple in his chin, that tugs at me. Charisma, I guess. That and our shared history.

"Sure." I grab a pile of canvases I somehow forgot were on my beaten up couch and lean them against an even more beaten up coffee table. Sometimes I think I'm a living parody of myself: the starving artist sleeping on a mattress in her studio to save on rent. Yet, there it is.

Markel doesn't move. He stares at me for a long moment then shifts his gaze over my shoulder, a wistful look on his face. I know he's thinking about Isaac. I probably should just say something, but I don't know what to say. That I'm sorry? That I'm still upset? That I lost a friend, too?

I pour wine into two juice glasses as he settles into the couch. Not an easy feat as it's lumpy and too deep for comfort. I should get a new one, or at least a new secondhand one, but the landlord just raised my rent, and I'm pretty much broke.

I sit in the rocking chair across from him and lean forward. "I heard your Jocelyn Gamp show went fabulously well."

He takes a sip of his wine. "It was her molten pieces. She sold everything she had. Plus three commissions. Amazing lady. Amazing artist. The Met's requested a studio visit."

I like how he doesn't take any of the credit. "She sold" rather than "I sold" or even "we sold." Extremely rare among the run-amok egos of most dealers and gallery owners.

"Not often a Boston show gets covered in the New York Times," I suck up.

"Yes, it was quite the coup," he admits. "I'm glad to see that you're still following the goings-on in the art world even though we haven't exactly been following yours."

I look up sharply. What the hell does that mean? But I see that his eyes hold compassion, maybe even a little guilt.

"Isaac's Orange Nude sold last week," he says.

Ah. As everyone knows, I was the model for Orange Nude. Even though it's an abstraction, there's no denying my long, unmanageable red hair or the paleness of my skin or my brown eyes. If I hadn't thrown it out the door when we broke up, I'd probably be living in a condo in Back Bay instead of renting in an industrial building in SOWA. But then again, I'm not the Back Bay type. "Don't tell me how much you got for it."

"I'll spare you the pain. But the sale started me thinking about you, about the raw deal you got."

I struggle to keep the surprise off my face. In the last three years, no one outside of a few art buddies and my mother—who never really understood what it all meant—has looked at the situation from my point of view.

"So I decided to come down and see what you've been up to," he continues. "Maybe I can help."

My heart leaps at the offer, and I jump up. "I pulled out a few from my latest series." I wave at the paintings. "Obviously, windows."

Markel walks toward the pieces. "Windows," he repeats, and he takes in the whole dozen from a distance, then approaches each individually.

"It's urban windows, Boston windows. Hopper-esque thematically, but more multidimensional. Not just the public face of loneliness, but who we are in many dimensions. Unseen from the inside. Or unknowingly seen. On display from outside, posturing or forgetting. Separations. Reflections, refractions."

"Light," he murmurs. "Wonderful light."

"That, too. Without light nothing can be seen. And with it, still so much is unobserved." Studio visits make me talk like a pompous art critic.

"Your light is amazing. The subtle values. Almost Vermeerlike." He points to Loft. "I'm struck by the difference in value in the light from the far left window through to the right ones." He steps closer. "Each slightly different, and yet each such a luminous part of the whole."

I'm also pleased with that particular play, but Vermeer, the master of light ...

"How many glazings are you doing?"

I'm reluctant to admit the truth. Not only are very few artists using classical oil techniques these days, but those who are aren't nearly as compulsive as I am about layering. I shrug. "Eight? Nine?" Which is actually low for me.

"It's reminiscent of the light falling on the black-and-white tile floor in The Concert." He walks closer to Loft. "The light bouncing off the building here. It's almost as if it's caressing the diamonds of the chain-link."

He steps back, examines the paintings closely, just as I had earlier. "I love how you're playing with classical style and contemporary subjects, with abstraction. But it's the realistic pieces that grab me." He waves dismissively at Sidewalk. "The abstracts aren't nearly as strong."

"Not too OTC?" I ask. OTC is "over the couch" in artist-speak, a derogatory term for paintings purchased by buyers who want their artwork to match their décor.

Markel laughs. "Not even close. I've been trying to tell people for years that realism isn't dead. That nothing can touch a great talent in classical oil."

A rush of warmth fills my body and races up to my face. It's been a long time since anyone said anything like that about me.

"I have lots more," I say, heading over to the three-tiered shelving I built to house my art books and canvases, although now it's all canvases and my books are in semiorganized piles on the floor. The shelves are a mess, of course. But a mess I know intimately.

I begin pulling paintings before he says he wants to see them. I grab the stepladder. I need it so I can reach the highest shelf, which is where I store most of my more realistic paintings. The ones I figured no one would be interested in.

"These some of your reproductions?" Markel calls from the other side of the room.

I look over my shoulder. "Yeah. I don't usually have any completed ones here. But the truck's tied up all week, so the Degas isn't getting picked up till Friday."

"Reproductions.com. Got to love the name. Saw the article in the Globe last month. Nice exposure for you." He hesitates. "I guess?"

"Not exactly the kind I'm looking for." Just what I need: publicity for pretending to paint someone else's masterpiece. "I tried to get out of the interview, but Repro wouldn't stand for it."

"Are they doing as well as their hype?"

"Probably better," I say, although I'm not really listening and not at all interested in Repro. I'm too focused on pulling my best paintings, but not too many. Light. Interesting value is what he wants, deep and translucent. I grab one. Not strong enough. Then another.

"Now this is OTC," he says, pointing to the Pissarro, which although incomplete is obviously filled with trees covered in masses of white blossoms.

I laugh. "For the pretentious."

"But poor," he adds.

I lumber down with three canvases under my arm. "Not all that poor. Those things go for thousands of dollars. Tens of thousands for the bigger ones. Unfortunately, I only get a fraction of that."

I quickly remove my more abstract paintings from the wall. Replace them with the ones I've chosen. I turn to him, but he's staring at the fake Degas.

"You're damn good at this."

"It beats waitressing."

His eyes don't leave my rendering. "I'll say."

"Degas' later work isn't all that hard to copy. Not like his early oils. They're a real bitch," I say, trying to be polite when every part of me wants to grab Markel and pull him to the other side of the studio. "What with all those layers. Painting and waiting. Painting and waiting. Could take months, maybe years."

"And Reproductions.com has you do that?"

"No. Never. A piece like that would have to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars." I come to stand by him. "Degas is my specialty, his oils in particular. I'm actually certified—whatever that means—by Repro, after I took the requisite classes." I wave to the piles of books in the corner. "I'm working on a book proposal about him. His relationship with other artists, dealers, collectors of his day. Cross-germination. That kind of stuff. But I'm not working on it as hard as I should be."

Markel's eyes remain glued to the Degas reproduction. "This seems like a better use of your time. Do they appreciate you?"

"Sometimes I get a bonus when people order a Degas with the stipulation that I'm the artist," I shrug. "Although you can hardly call a person who copies a masterpiece an artist."

He doesn't contradict me, and I gesture him back to my real work. He steals a last glance at Woman Leaving Her Bath before he follows.

We stand in silence, staring at my windows. I force myself to remain silent, to allow the work to speak for itself.

After two minutes that feel like twenty, Markel touches my arm. "Let's sit down."

We walk over to the couch and sit on opposite ends. He finishes off his wine and pours himself another. I decline his offer of a refill, wanting the wine, but fearing I'm too jittery to hold onto it.

Markel clears his throat, takes another sip. "Claire, I've just been given the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to do good, real good for lots of people. And I hope you'll feel the same way about the one I'm about to give you." He pauses. "Although I suppose yours is really more like making a deal with the devil."

I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about, but I catch the word "opportunity." "And you're the devil?"

He shakes his head vigorously. "The devil's the one who gave me this opportunity. Although I've no idea who he is. He's levels away from me."

"Like Dante?"

Although I meant it as a joke, he ponders the question, a professor attempting to answer a precocious student. "No. I guess that's wrong. Pawns are the better analogy. But clever pawns. Who can capture the queen. Either way, I'm mixing my metaphors."

"I've got no problem with the devil. I'm one of those people who thinks heaven would be boring. But being a pawn has never suited me."

This time he does laugh, but I can tell it's forced. "Then we'll stick with the devil."

Enough of this. "Okay," I say. "What are we talking about here?"

He locks his eyes on mine. "Something not quite on the up-and-up."

I don't break the stare. "I thought you said it was an opportunity to do good?"

"The end is good. It's just the means that are a bit iffy."

"Illegal?"

"There's illegal and there's illegal."

"And which one is this?"

Markel looks across the room at the Degas and Pissarro.

And now it all makes sense. "Oh" is all I can say.

He takes a sip of wine, relaxes into the lumpy couch. The most uncomfortable part of this conversation is clearly over for him.

I cross my arms over my chest. "I can't believe that after everything that's happened, you, of all people, would even consider asking me to forge a painting."

"How much does Reproductions.com pay you?"

"They pay me to copy, not to forge."

"So you said a fraction. A few thousand a picture? A little more?"

Often it's less, but I nod.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The ART FORGER by B. A. SHAPIRO Copyright © 2012 by Barbara A. Shapiro. Excerpted by permission of ALGONQUIN BOOKS OF CHAPEL HILL. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

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(29)

4 Star

(31)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Fun Read and Well Crafted Story

    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!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating!

    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)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Recommended for art and mystery lovers

    A good mystery about the meaning of art. Highly recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Highly Recommend-Couldn't put it down!

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    A fun and fascinating mystery. From the first page I was engaged

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Highly recommend

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2013

    Excellent.

    Excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2012

    Great book. I have no knowledge or particular interest in art, b

    Great book. I have no knowledge or particular interest in art, but the author weaves together a compelling story. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Interesting and informative of the Art World.

    If your interested in oil paintings this is a good story and a look into the art world you may not know.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Read it!

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    I didn't want this book to end!

    The heroine is very likable,despite some questionable choices. The author puts you right there with her as she is on both sides of the law- volunteer at a prison and being under arrest, and keeps you on your toes as events twist and turn. She is remarkably talented and has a close knit group of friends that you feel a part of.I really enjoyed this book and miss Claire now that it is over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Scorge

    Sorry res 5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Author of TheJockAndTheEmoBoy

    Here

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  • Posted May 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Great story - couldn't put it down.  A must!

    Great story - couldn't put it down.  A must!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Good Different Mystery

    Impressed by the stories woven together. Wanted to know more about how a great painting is created and how it is copied. This novel delivers. Also kept me interested to the end. Love beautiful artwork and sketch for fun, but always wondered what it would be like to have real talent or the $ to buy the work in the best galleries and enjoy them on my own walls. This book gave me a little taste of those scenarios.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Excellent heist mystery

    Well written and fast paced mystery. Will definitely be reading more Shapiro works.

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  • Posted January 26, 2014

    Really enjoyed

    I love the Gardner Museum and the Boston setting. It held my interest through out. I find the whole heist business fascinating.

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  • Posted December 14, 2013

    A Good Read

    This is an interesting romp into the world of art institutions, galleries and authenticity. It is well researched tale and spans several centuries which reveals both real and invented characters. The story is an altogether engrossing narrative into the complicated niche of high stakes art and the treachery of forgeries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Meh

    recommend if you enjoy minutae and process

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Fun art mystery

    A friend recommended this book because I was planning to visit the Gardner Museum in Boston. It was a fun way to learn about the museum and learn about art forgery. It was a real page turned and after finishing it I bought the non-fiction story of the famous art heist at the Gardner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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