We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Provenance Audiobook

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Here is a tautly paced investigation of one the 20th century's most audacious art frauds, which generated hundreds of forgeries - many of them still hanging in prominent museums and private collections today. Provenance is the extraordinary narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate deceptions in art history. Investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo brilliantly recount the tale of a great con man and unforgettable villain, John Drewe, and his sometimes unwitting accomplices. Chief among those was the struggling artist John Myatt, a vulnerable single father who was manipulated by Drewe into becoming a prolific art forger. Once Myatt had painted the pieces, the real fraud began. Drewe managed to infiltrate the archives of the upper echelons of the British art world in order to fake the provenance of Myatt's forged pieces, hoping to irrevocably legitimize the fakes while effectively rewriting art history.

The story stretches from London to Paris to New York, from tony Manhattan art galleries to the esteemed Giacometti and Dubuffet associations, to the archives at the Tate Gallery. This enormous swindle resulted in the introduction of at least 200 forged paintings, some of them breathtakingly good and most of them selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of these fakes are still out in the world, considered genuine and hung prominently in private houses, large galleries, and prestigious museums. And the sacred archives, undermined by John Drewe, remain tainted to this day.

Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller, filled with unforgettable characters and told at a breakneck pace. But this is most certainly not fiction; Provenance is the meticulously researched and captivating account of one of the greatest cons in the history of art forgery.

©2009 Laney Salisbury; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Salisbury and Sujo (who died in 2008) evoke with flair the plush art world and its penetration by the seductive Drewe as well as the other players in this fascinating art drama." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (348 )
5 star
 (121)
4 star
 (137)
3 star
 (74)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.2 (242 )
5 star
 (109)
4 star
 (87)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.8 (240 )
5 star
 (75)
4 star
 (88)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (26)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 04-26-10
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 04-26-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    837
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    517
    403
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    278
    0
    Overall
    "reads like a thriller"

    Terrific story behind a massive series of art swindles in the 1990's by a couple of somewhat talented gentlemen. The authors provide such great detail, you can feel as if you are looking over the shoulder of the swindler. Solid narration makes the audio book even more enjoyable.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharonia 02-24-13
    Sharonia 02-24-13 Member Since 2006

    mud maven

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous story, terrible narration almost ruined"

    I had to give up on the audio book because of the narration. And I almost invariably love the narrator. This time I feel it was not the narrator per se, but the engineer who taped her. ( Although, I must say, she could have done a better job at the pronunciation of names - e.g. Klee does NOT rhyme with key).
    Did they really need to save 5 minutes or so to cram this book into a certain length?

    The book sounds as if it is 8 hours of a run-on sentence. No natural pauses between words, sentences, paragraphs or chapters. Really annoying. Note that there are many names involved here which makes it even normally hard to follow an audio book, even more so when the narrator drones on interminably.

    So I got the real book, and cannot put it down. Absolutely mesmerizing true story, well documented and written. Wish it had had pictures - that would have made it spectacular. Should be made into a movie.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 05-30-13
    Simone 05-30-13 Member Since 2016

    Follow me on Goodreads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1078
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    630
    508
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    87
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It reads like fiction – GREAT!"

    I LOVED IT! If only more non-fiction books were written in this style; it reads like a story. Brilliant. It’s not dry and textbooky like most non-fiction books I have read (and that’s a lot, just check my library).

    Most of the time non-fiction tends to be pretty dull, emotionless and little more than a long boring litany of: Fact. Fact. Date. Date. Fact. Date. Fact. You read it because you are interested in the information, but the presentation dulls your curiosity.

    That’s not the case for this book, thanks to the story-style-set-up, it held my attention the entire way though... I never once got bored, or felt lost, or was mired down in a well of names and dates. I was captivated from the beginning to the end.

    Kudos!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL, United States 08-25-10
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL, United States 08-25-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Big Story; Unusual decisions"

    This is the story of one of the major acts of art fraud in the modern world. The facts themselves are probably worth the price of admission, but the rather epic mystery is well-explained and developed throughout the book. The only major downside is that the narration is a bit grating.

    What's I find especially interesting is the arrangement of the book itself. The author didn't really tell one story, but frames the whole event in a series of interlocking narratives, which is confusing at times but really helpful at others: the story is just that big that it justifies it. The book is equally interesting in terms of who (and how) it crafts its heroes and villains.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 05-27-12
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 05-27-12 Member Since 2014

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
    891
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    426
    141
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    83
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unbelievable, But Somehow Believable"

    This story is an entertaining narrative of the unbelievable exploits of a consummate con artist. It is a fascinating look at how a rather ordinary man was able to pull one over on some of the most reputable museums and collectors in the art world. He did this on a shoestring budget, with little training, and while pulling in an unimpressive accomplice. You will be left shaking your head in wonder at how he was able to do it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uriel Cuernavaca, Mexico 08-08-10
    Uriel Cuernavaca, Mexico 08-08-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great engaging story"

    I really like John Myatt's work, and I have always been fascinated by his story, which brought me to this book. I really liked the way the story of Drewe and Myatt was told, and the narrator I think did a good job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-26-10
    07-26-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A great learning experience"

    A fascinating story of real-life adventure and detective work. It included information about the reality of forensic evidence with art works. The characters are unbelievable -- but true.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline 10-10-10
    Caroline 10-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    195
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting & enjoyable"

    A fascinating book on the art world and human nature. It is amazing the influence one person can have on others.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    benjamin United States 09-29-13
    benjamin United States 09-29-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "listens like a text book"
    What disappointed you about Provenance?

    Reader made this terrible. Could have been a very good audio book, it had a very interesting story. But it was painful to listen to.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo ? Why or why not?

    Yes. With a more exciting reader


    Would you be willing to try another one of Marty Peterson’s performances?

    No!!!!!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Washington, DC, United States 05-28-13
    Laura Washington, DC, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2012

    Long commute = Lots of time for audiobooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating story; dreadful narration"

    There's so much potential in this story and this book comes close - but doesn't quite - realize all it could be.

    First of all, I have to say that this story - of one of the largest (or the largest? I'm not sure) cons in the history of modern art - is so full of interesting characters and truth-is-stranger-than-fiction scenarios that I guess I'm a little disappointed that Salisbury and Sujo too often didn't let the story speak for itself. There's a lot of telling, not showing, and that style of writing always makes me mistrust the author. Telling me that Drewe is a sociopath is fine I guess, as far as it goes, but I'd much rather know why you think that, through your first-hand impressions of the man and the many other characters in the story whom the authors surely met in person at some point in order to write the book.

    What's missing is anything about why this book's telling of Drewe's story is particularly special. How did the authors come to learn about Drewe's story? Are the direct quotations from Drewe, Myatt, and others from the authors' interviews with the subjects? Did they speak to Drewe himself in prison? They don't say.

    On an equally important note, I hated the narration. You know when you go to check your voicemail and the robot woman voice tells you, "You have 2 new voice messages"? I swear, I think the same voice is narrating this book. I gave up on the book after 2 minutes the first time I tried to listen to it, but eventually gave it another go because I was so interested in the story. The narrator's voice never grew on me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Karolina
    Cupar, United Kingdom
    5/26/11
    Overall
    "Fascinating Tale"

    The story itself was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. The only thing that spoiled it for me were the narrator's persistent mispronunciations. Southwark to rhyme with South Fork for instance and really, clique rhymes with week not wick. A British narrator would have made much better sense for a story based in the UK.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    3/16/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful accent"

    An interesting and absorbing story but spoilt by the awful robotic, American accent and pronunciations

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.