Ten years ago, an FBI investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have been front-page news in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents to art dealers, renowned experts, and the major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite an abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked exempt from public disclosure. Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, Caveat Emptor is Ken Perenyi's confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off.
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Ken Perenyi
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Imprint: Pegasus Books
Dimensions: Width: 16.10cm , Height: 3.00cm , Length: 23.50cm
ISBN 10: 1605983608
Publication Date: 21 August 2012
Audience: College/higher education , Professional and scholarly , Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly , Professional & Vocational
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: In Print
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Table of Contents
By his own admission, Ken Perenyi is a liar, a cheat and a thief--but to give him his due, he is also pretty brilliant. His astonishing memoir, Caveat Emptor, is by turns horrifying and hilarious. An engrossing read.
Ken Perenyi made millions painting and selling more than 1,000 forgeries over 30 years. He's imitated the likes of Charles Bird King and James Buttersworth -- and confesses it all in his new book, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger. Interview with Ken Perenyi on NPR.
<p>How much is America's first and only great art forger, as the jacket copy describes the author, willing to reveal? <p>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. <p> 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.<p>
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