- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: *Norton agency titles; 1 edition (15 August 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605983608
- ISBN-13: 978-1605983608
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3 x 23.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
414,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1951 in Biographies of Artists, Architects & Photographers
- #2865 in Biographies of Criminals
- #1334 in Art Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
Caveat Emptor the Secret Life of an American Art Forger Hardcover – 15 Aug 2012
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Perenyi illustrates how he became America's top art forger....Readers will be captivated as they follow the development of this remarkable talent over a 40-year career.
An extraordinary memoir is to reveal how a gifted artist managed to forge his way to riches by conning high-profile auctioneers, dealers and collectors over four decades.
A fabulous tale of impossible events. While my encounter with Ken Perenyi was fleeting, I long suspected he would claim his place in the dark arts of illustration and the fun of the chase. Enjoy the ride.--Richard Neville
How much is "America's first and only great art forger," as the jacket copy describes the author, willing to reveal? Quite a lot, it seems. Perenyi, a graduate of a New Jersey technical school and a Vietnam draft dodger, fell in with a band of artistic New Yorkers and began imitating long-gone masters such as James E. Buttersworth and Martin Johnson Heade. The trick, he learned, was the peripheral details: the materials to which the canvas was fixed, the frame, a faux-aged stain. Perenyi took his canvases to New York antiques shops and specialty galleries, told a tale about a deceased uncle with treasures in his attic, and, more often than not, sold his wares. Some of his paintings reached the upper echelons of the art world and were brokered or bought by famous auction houses.
"I never told them the paintings were for real," Perenyi said to his lawyers in the 1990s, when he found himself at the center of an FBI investigation. "It wasn't my fault that Christie's, Phillips, Sotheby's and Bonhams sold them." The investigation abruptly ended (the book never makes clear precisely what happened, and the FBI file was marked "exempt from public disclosure," which may explain the absence of news related to the matter). There are, of course, many morally abhorrent moments in this story but it's hard not to like this surprisingly entertaining tale of the art world's shady side. Perenyi is culpable, but he may have had some help from the dealers and auction houses that looked the other way to make a buck.
About the Author
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I recommend the book unreservedly.
I would like to point out that the reviews for this book are themselves very insightful... they run the gamut between people who laud the author as a genius to those who think he's a "psychopath" (though they may be confusing that with sociopath). Mr. Perenyi seems to be quite polarizing !
Caveat Emptor was a page turner from beginning to end. Perenyi is far from the pretentious art aficionado I had originally pegged him for, in fact his wit, sometimes faltering self esteem (especially growing of age in the 60's and trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life) and at times self-deprecating personality gives Perenyi a very human side. The goings on in Perenyi's apartment building in NYC, then called the "The Ferguson Club", was not only hilarious, some of the characters could have all been straight out of the classic Pulitzer awarded "Confederacy of Dunces". I was so taken by the building and it's tenants I had to go and stand in front of the actual building the last time I found myself in Manhattan!
There's a part of the story when one of the forgeries is going to be cleaned by Sotheby's auction house--which puts you in the room with Perenyi and leaves you with sweaty, clammy palms. Although I didn't want the story to end, I was glad that moved so beautifully and so quickly. I would much rather be left wanting more, than to have to read too much. Well done!!!
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Arts & Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
- Books > Arts & Photography > Individual Artists
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Artists, Architects & Photographers
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Crime & Criminals
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > True Crime
- Books > Humour & Entertainment