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Provenance Audiobook

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

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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 (353 )
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4.2 (248 )
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3.8 (246 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Erika 07-09-16
    Erika 07-09-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    5
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    "fascinating listen"

    Not in love with the narration, but the story is very fascinating. I learned a lot and also was kept on the edge of my seat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison 03-03-16
    Alison 03-03-16
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    "Fascinating book, story well reported"

    I just wish Audible books came with pictures! This is really a fascinating story and a look at the inner workings of the art world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 12-10-15
    Laura 12-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "wrong reader for this story"

    The narrator's voice is far too happy and prescribed for this book. it's like I'm listening to it being read to me eith a happy good morning elevator voice. This is my first book and it was free., however I wish I could get my free credit back. No offense to the narrator intended.. I recognize that voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenn Midwest, USA 09-27-15
    Jenn Midwest, USA 09-27-15 Member Since 2016

    @GetFrostedCakes (Twitter)

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    2
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    Story
    "Interesting account of a 20th art caper"

    All in all this is an extremely interesting story. It's sometimes hard to believe it's a story happening in the 1980s and 1990s and not in the 1800s. To perpetrate a con this elaborate in modern times seems impossible.

    My only criticism with the story structure is a total lack of suspense. While the overall outcome may be known/obvious, even the minor subplots are made all too apparent long before the author dives deeply into their details. That being said, it's only a minor criticism and the story is worth hearing (even for an art neophyte, like myself).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Andrion Hunt Valley, MD United States 07-11-15
    Michael Andrion Hunt Valley, MD United States 07-11-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "True crime Art Fraud story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes true crime stories and might want to see the other side of the story from either Hustle or Leverage from TV.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The build up of the whole process that Drewe went through to get the art sold was amazing. If the book was fiction I don't know if anyone would have believed it.


    What about Marty Peterson’s performance did you like?

    I liked that Marty Peterson didn't get in the way of the book. This is one of those books that was read so well that you didn't notice a performance.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I don't know that this is a laugh or cry type of book. You do have emotions about the people but it is more history/reporting.


    Any additional comments?

    I've been a fan of the Art Mystery subgenre for a while and this has been my first go with a true crime. I'm actually looking at some of the suggestions that audible provided because of this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSB1971 06-08-15
    JSB1971 06-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    1
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    "Reader addressed this piece as if it were non-fiction"

    Her performance was dry, flat and disappointing. Interesting story. Rich content. I wish I had liked it more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 04-15-15
    Andrew 04-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    3
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    "Fascinating listen"

    Engrossing story that's expertly written. This narration style is a bit annoying, especially at first. It needs natural pauses and breaks!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Troxel 07-25-14
    T. Troxel 07-25-14

    Powder Head

    ratings
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    31
    5
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    Story
    "Great story with fascinating characters"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the insight into the mind of a sociopathic liar and the interesting history and inner workings of the art world. The extent to which humans can deceive others and themselves is fascinating and scary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Mather San Francisco 12-18-13
    Susan Mather San Francisco 12-18-13 Member Since 2015

    Good books and peaceful days...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Reads Like a Great Mystery!"

    Artist with two young kids, down on his luck, meets swashbuckling conman who charms the artist into copying less-known works by the masters, for his own personal collection, he says. But not long after, during a visit, the younger artist notices his paintings have disappeared from their prominant place on the conman's walls. It's awhile before this artist fully understands hat his new 'friend' is doing with his paintings, for which he's been given increasingly large(r) sums of cash. And when his wealthy, well-dressed, smooth-talking friend asks him to attend an auction at one of London's most ite art museums, he realizes and is stunned to learn that his friend has donated, as well as sold, many of this young man's forgeries, which have passed the watchful eyes of the art world's elite. An incredible, fast-paced story that explains how the stuffy art world was initially taken for millions, during which its 'provenances' were fabricated to such an extent that many still believe there are fakes out there being mistaken for real. Fortunately, these authors write much better than me. If you like art and a fine story, you won't want to miss this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia THOUSAND OAKS, CA, United States 09-08-13
    Julia THOUSAND OAKS, CA, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    Story
    "Suspenseful Non-Fiction"

    Even a passing interest in the art world would make this book worthy of your time. The only problem I had was with the narrator. I downloaded it quickly and on a recommendation, not looking at who was reading the audio. I had expected an English person, given both the subject and the general ubiquity of British accents in the world of audiobooks. Instead, it turned out to be an American woman...which would be completely fine, if she hadn't totally disregarded the whole "thriller" aspect of the story. The book is nonfiction, but it's plotted like a suspenseful novel. The narrator ran flatly through chapter-endings that were clearly intended to be cliffhangers, and the effect was a little off-putting.
    The book is certainly worth a try, though! Might just be a little better in written form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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