Faking Fine Art


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.


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.”

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