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Forged: Why Fakes are the Great Art of Our Age

Forged: Why Fakes are the Great Art of Our Age

Forged explores art forgery from ancient times to the present. In chapters combining lively biography with insightful art criticism, Jonathon Keats profiles individual art forgers and connects their stories to broader themes about the role of forgeries in society. From the Renaissance master Andrea del Sarto who faked a Raphael masterpiece at the request of his Medici patrons, to the Vermeer counterfeiter Han van Meegeren who duped the avaricious Hermann Göring, to the frustrated British artist Eric Hebborn, who began forging to expose the ignorance of experts, art forgers have challenged "legitimate" art in their own time, breaching accepted practices and upsetting the status quo. They have also provocatively confronted many of the present-day cultural anxieties that are major themes in the arts. Keats uncovers what forgeries-and our reactions to them-reveal about changing conceptions of creativity, identity, authorship, integrity, authenticity, success, and how we assign value to works of art. The book concludes by looking at how artists today have appropriated many aspects of forgery through such practices as street-art stenciling and share-and-share-alike licensing, and how these open-source "copyleft" strategies have the potential to make legitimate art meaningful again.

Part One - THE ART OF FORGERY

Part Two - SIX MODERN MASTERS

Lothar Malskat: What Is Belief? 1913–1988

Alceo Dossena: What Is Authenticity? 1878–1937

Han van Meegeren: What Is Authority? 1889–1947

Eric Hebborn: What Is History? 1934–1996

Elmyr de Hory: What Is Identity? 1906(?)–1976

Part Three - FORGING A NEW ART