The world's greatest forger?

August 22 2014

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories

A new film has been made about an elderly American called Mark Landis, who for my money is one of the most ingenious forgers of all time. Landis' trick is to fake a work of art, by artist's as diverse as Picasso and Watteau, and then pose as a benefactor to a museum, duping them to accept the work as a gift. Sometimes he dresses up as a vicar, to persuade unwary curators and registrars of his good intentions. Despite being unmasked in 2008, he has never been, and cannot be, prosecuted in the US because he never took any money for his 'donations'. He merely exposed, with what are really very simple and occasionally crude forgeries, a worrying lack of connoisseurship in some institutions. Sometimes he just painted over a photocopy.

More on him here, and here. The film, Art and Craft, opens in the US in late September.

Update - a reader sends this link a good piece on Landis in the New Yorker. 

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