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
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.
First I really enjoyed the writing and the narration. I felt that Ken’s antics and the background descriptions of NYC in that 70’s era were particularly interesting. The cast of characters that Ken associated with were almost larger than life types who seemed more like facades (if I was an editor I may have said these supporting characters required more subtle development and back story to be believable) as they appeared to be almost clichés rather than real life associations. As an avid reader who toggles between fiction and nonfiction, I had a hard time telling the difference between the fact and fantasy in this one. Yet the story was so entertaining and I must admit that I was fascinated by the forgery concept that I didn’t mind. If you want a good read and to learn about an area – art forgery than this is a good choice. I didn’t care to fact check and debate whether all this is true or not, I was more hear to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.
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I think the subject matter of art forgery interests me because I have no artistic ability. It seems amazing to me that paintings and sculptures that are considered unique and unmatched works of art can be so “easily” copied!
I would think it harder to copy something as opposed creating something original because you have more constraints on your work. I don’t just mean the nuts and bolts of getting the right kind of canvas and the right kinds of paints or the techniques involved in aging the finished work, but also the skill set it takes to imitate something flawlessly … but what do I know, perhaps it’s easier.
As the book title states, this book is about the life of a forger (not just the forgeries) and what a life it is!! His life (or perhaps just the parts he’s sharing) is a litany of escapades and mishaps and lucky breaks and risk-taking adventures. All along while reading it I thought to myself: You can’t make this stuff up!!
Overall the writing is funny and evocative of 60's New York. The passages where the technical details of the forgery process is described are very interesting.
Dan Butler's performance is very good. reflecting the swagger and smirk in the writing.
I could not listen to the end. It wasnt worth the time to get so little about the forgery process which takes up maybe 5% of the book. The rest is a catalogue of macho (and highly unlikely) petty crimes, interactions with famous people, and sexual conquests, in each of which he is invariably the street-smart hero who comes out on top.
Likes books and reading/listening
Who knows how much of this story is true, how much is embellished for the sake of a good tale. Nevertheless very enjoyable.
Good books and peaceful days...
Well-written, -paced & -narrated autobiographical story about a kid who comes of age with panache, showing his penchant for living confidently & creatively, being truly open & receptive toward the people, places & experiences he most desired to experience - which is what 'living life fully' is all about even tho most of us let our conditioning or whatevers hold us in check. But not this fascinating guy, who starts hanging out at these guys' artistic household that's always filled with fetching models, underground filmmakers, and more. Not a few famous people are a part of this scene - and you'll love it!
Allowing his circle of artistic friends to influence him, Ken rises to the challenge when someone dares him to draw his own art. 'Lo n Behold, his first attempt is received well by these truly supportive, amazed people, which serves to encourage Ken to learn everything he can about Art.
And what a great beginning for an artist who almost by accident develops this long-term friendship with an art dealer-of-sorts who is also the son of a known mafia guy in NY, which certainly adds excitement & moments of dangerous living-on-the-edge. As is often the case with people who follow their energy w/o much planning, we watch & listen to Ken's trials, tribulations & reasons for creating the most incredible copies of masterpieces that use techniques that pass close inspections by the pros for decades (which techniques are explained enough for the nonartist to grasp Ken's ongoing abilities at to soak up life & knowledge, as well as meeting & developing helpful relationships with everyone he meets).
A historical story about the art scene on the edges, with mentions of famous people you are sure to recognize. Made me wish I'd lived in NY City in my 20s in the 60s & 70s. Any artist or art lover will not want to miss this lively, descriptive & true tale. Ah, the creative life when on has connections in the top of the art world, wise guys & even the tough lawyer, Roy Cohn. Even Andy Warhol wanted to meet Ken; and so will you.
Ken Perenyi is a real artist and craftsman- only problem was that I wanted the story to go on- I want this gentleman to be happy
The technical parts of the story were extremely interesting
Amazing career in Art
This book was such an intriguing and interesting story. Ken Perenyi is brilliant and very honest about how he operated. It will fascinate you and make you very careful about trusting art experts in the future.
This book was plodding and unremarkable. It's full of mostly dull personal recollections and much of the story seems dubious at best. Very well narrated, but not recommended.
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