Artists and Art Forgery That Fooled the World

Famous Artists of the Art Forgery World

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well, what about art forgery? Though many look down on forgery artists, their talent is undeniable. Many pieces of art forgery have completely fooled the art world with museums purchasing pieces they thought were authentic!

There are a few forgery artists that really made a name for themselves. Han van Meegeren, Elmyr de Hory, Eric Hebborn and John Myatt are big names in the art forgery world.

  • Han van Meegeren was one of the first forgers to be romanticized by the media for his ability to fool the experts of the art world. He created forgeries of 17th century Dutch Masters .
  • Elmyr de Hory was a Hungarian-born painter who created thousands of forgeries. He sold them to art galleries all over the world. He painted Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani. The deception was discovered in the 1950s and the story exploded, making him an international sensation.
  • Eric Hebborn trained at the Royal Academy of Arts. Though his drawing skills were exquisite, he felt belittled by the modern art market. He turned to forgery after improving his painting skills with restoration work. He justified his forgeries as ethical if he sold them to experts and dealers, who he believed should have been able to tell the real from the fake. His moral code kept him from selling to amateur collectors.
  • John Myatt partnered with professional con man John Drewe. Myatt forged over 200 modernist paintings and Drewe corrupted the historical records by falsifying provenance documentation, which collectors and curators rely on as proof of authenticity.

Can You Spot the Art Forgery?

Many pieces of art forgery fooled the experts. The artists were so talented at imitating the style and color choice of the original artist. Can you spot the difference and pick out the fake?

Real or fake? The Oleander painting by van Gogh.

van gogh | painting | florals | art forgery | forged art

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If you guessed that the fake is on the left then you’re correct! Though this piece has some of the colors and style of van Gogh it is actually John Myatt’s copy of Oleanders. Van Gogh’s real piece is actually less vibrant in color choice.

Let’s try another. Which Modigliani painting is the real one?

Modigliani | art forgery | forged painting

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This time the fake is on the right! Elmyr de Hory forged the painting in the style of Amedeo Modigliani.

What do you think of art forgery? Is it a homage to the original artist or is it a scam? Comment below with what you think!

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