PLEDGE NOW
Faking Fine Art

Provenance

In the world of pricey art galleries and top museums, the paper trail behind a painting is almost as important as the work itself. This documented history, a painting’s “provenance,” proves the work’s authenticity and can raise its value to staggering levels.

A new book tells the riveting true story of a con-man and a talented, struggling artist who teamed up to pull off what Scotland Yard called the “biggest art fraud of the 20th century.”

How did they do it? Why? And what did it mean for the world of art?

This hour, On Point: “Provenance.” A painter, a con-man, and a fraud for the ages.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Albany, New York, is Laney Salisbury, co-author with Aly Sujo of the new book, “Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art.” 

You can read an excerpt from the book.  And on her website, Laney Salisbury offers photos of forged artworks painted by John Myatt.

And from Stoke, England, we’re joined by John Myatt. Profiled in “Provenance,” he painted over 200 forgeries that sold as the work of master artists. He served four months in prison for his role in the fraud, and now makes a living selling “legitimate fakes.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 25, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

May 25, 2015
Violinist Regina Carter warms up in the On Point studio on Friday, October 17. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Regina Carter turns her jazz violin down home with her new album “Southern Comfort.”

RECENT
SHOWS
May 22, 2015
The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)

Pitch Perfect 2 is the number one movie in the country, and it’s over the top on a capella.

 
May 22, 2015
Crashed cars with airbags deployed are shown to visitors as part of the display of Toyota Motor Corp.'s safety performance standards at the automaker's exhibition hall in Toyota, central Japan. (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

ISIS rolls on. A TPP vote. Biggest recall ever – airbags. And Letterman’s last bow. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment