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Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger | [Ken Perenyi]

Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

Ten years ago, an FBI investigation 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, experts, and major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite an abundance of evidence. 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, this audiobook, Caveat Emptor, is that artist, Ken Perenyi’s, confession.
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Publisher's Summary

The true story of America's greatest art forger!

Ten years ago, an FBI investigation 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, this audiobook, Caveat Emptor, is that artist, Ken Perenyi’s, confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off. Unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing the experts in mere seconds.

©2012 Ken Perenyi; ©2012 AudioGO

What Members Say

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4.1 (273 )
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  •  
    HIII 10-23-13
    HIII 10-23-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sad Secrets"

    What would of happened if Ken Perenyl had channeled his talent into producing his own art? If he had taken this much time and study to perfect his own style? It was sad to listen to him brag about the price of one of his forgeries to hear about it 'melting' during cleaning as the forgery is discovered without a twinge of consciousness. I had to listen to it as a story rather that non-fiction - his life, his work and his attitude are unbelievable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yachtmaster Hawaii, USA 05-07-15
    Yachtmaster Hawaii, USA 05-07-15 Member Since 2015

    Yachtmasterkyle

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    "Great read"

    Very insightful into the shady side of the art market. Best book I've read since Thomas Hoving's book on fakes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 04-28-15
    B Rose Ivins, UT USA 04-28-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting but too long"

    This is an interesting listen, especially if you're interested in the subject. I found it too long and dragging on. The narrator is great and easy to listen to. Just not sure I'd have gotten it if I knew more about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda W. 03-06-15
    Amanda W. 03-06-15 Member Since 2013

    Special Collections Librarian at the Marion H. Skidmore Library, Digital Director of The Skeptiseum, co-host of The Thirteenth Four podcast.

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    3
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    "Riveting!"

    I absolutely loved this book; I found it an exciting page-turner through the world of art forgery and antiquities. As a rare books librarian, I really appreciated the attention to detail in the descriptions of restoration techniques and the layout of the pieces, it really made everything come to life visually. Very well written, and beautifully captivating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CAS 02-14-15
    CAS 02-14-15
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    12
    1
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    Story
    "B-list Name-Dropping Slog"

    Perenyi offers neither plot nor insight into the New York art world. Forsaking connoisseurship, he was a two-bit crook who sold second-rate paintings to other willing thieves. So what.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer los angeles, ca, United States 01-13-15
    Amazon Customer los angeles, ca, United States 01-13-15 Member Since 2011

    Osprey

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    "Caveat Emptor"

    Not sure I believed every word, but it is a good story of an art forger. Not sure that he could pull off the forgeries today with all the technology, but who knows, maybe he could. The book takes you through a brief childhood and then right into his teens as he began his first steps into forging famous pieces of artwork. Made me wonder how much hanging on the walls of museums are real and how many may be forgeries. Liked the book, the story and the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 09-20-14
    Patricia 09-20-14 Member Since 2014

    pjaye

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too awful to finish"

    If you are expecting a book about art, then give this a miss.

    After 2 hours I gave up.
    Awful simplistic writing and not about art at all, the author is a not very bright, mob boy who is more interested in bragging about the famous people he met, how many gorgeous women he slept with and what drugs he took.

    Don't waste your time or your money on this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn 07-05-14
    Robyn 07-05-14

    Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.

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    "A very unusual con artist"

    I am in awe of Ken Perenyi's talent. With no training in art, art history, chemistry, or anything else related to creating a forgery and getting it past the experts, he fooled a lot of people for a long time before they caught up with him. Without a hint of guilt or remorse, he gleefully recounts episode after episode of getting away with a monumental con with a pocket full of big money. With so much practical talent, and an obvious talent for befriending very influential people, I wonder why he didn't choose a conventional career instead of betraying trust and ripping people off. I did read elsewhere about his adopting a girl from Africa which is worth looking up on the internet - perhaps he omitted it from this book so as not to tarnish his image as a conscience-free operator. I must say I learned about artists I had never heard of and took great pleasure in looking at their work, if only via internet images. Apart from a few mispronunciations of artists' names, Dan Butler does a fine job narrating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia CULLMAN, AL, United States 06-29-14
    Sylvia CULLMAN, AL, United States 06-29-14 Member Since 2015

    Armchair traveler

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    "Definitely not "White Collar""
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If you don't mind unsophisticated situations with lots of cussing, you won't mind this book. Unfortunately, it is what a lot of the 1960s in New York City and environs was all about. There IS some fascinating information about how painters and art forgers do their work. But you have to slog through a lot of other unsavory stuff to get to it.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending made me wonder whether our society is correct in making celebrity writers and speakers out of criminals.


    Do you think Caveat Emptor needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Caveat Emptor is a stand-alone story needing no follow-up.


    Any additional comments?

    The lifestyle of the main character and many of his friends and acquaintances was amoral and rather reprehensible. The details about painting and forgeries was quite interesting. I had been hoping for something like the TV show "White Collar". I went into this book with the totally wrong idea. It is nothing like the TV show and the depths to which the characters often sink is rather depressing. It IS an interesting story, narrated by the author who is the main character. And it gives one much to think about. But I would not read anything else by him or about him (this said after perusing his website on the Internet). He's obviously a very talented painter, but not a nice person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bluebells 01-21-14
    Bluebells 01-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Forgery brought to the level of art"

    This was a really interesting story for somebody like me who knows about nothing about art. Although the author has deceived many and earned money by replicating what others have created, what really transpires in the book is the real efforts taken to understand each painter. Ken Perenyi spent great amount of time analyzing a painter's style, the type of old canvas and materials used and then matching the painting to a corresponding frame. The technical process used for ageing pictures was also very interesting, including how he managed to fake fly droppings.

    I was expecting the story of a scam master, but Ken Perenyi is a real researcher and gifted artist. Now, he is also a true story teller. This book alternates entertaining developments with scientific explanations, which allows the reader to learn and have fun together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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