The Art Forger

Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 10 hrs
4.1 out of 5 stars (3,330 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.47

Buy for $24.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art, today worth over $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

©2012 Barbara Shapiro (P)2012 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A clever, twisty novel about art, authenticity, love, and betrayal. B. A. Shapiro knows about Degas, and she knows about art theft and forgery, and she also knows how to tell a gripping story." (Tom Perrotta)

What listeners say about The Art Forger

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,337
  • 4 Stars
    1,281
  • 3 Stars
    528
  • 2 Stars
    122
  • 1 Stars
    62
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,324
  • 4 Stars
    983
  • 3 Stars
    444
  • 2 Stars
    138
  • 1 Stars
    81
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,262
  • 4 Stars
    1,070
  • 3 Stars
    468
  • 2 Stars
    110
  • 1 Stars
    54

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 11-28-12

Engrossing forage into art forgery and intrigue

This a page turner throughout: a fascinating, imperiled protagonist, plenty of twists, and good pacing. The background on art forgery, Boston, and museum politics is enlightening and never extraneous to the character's perspective. As an oil painter, I also appreciated the artistic vision of the characters, as well as the personal history of famous painters which wove throughout the story.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining Art and Crime Story

Any additional comments?

Not a towering literary feat, but a good strong story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Wonderful writing about impressionist art and forgery techniques. Art lovers will particularly like this book, but even if you don't think of yourself as an art love you might want to try this---it could well turn you into a fan of the impressionists. Highly recommended.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Art Forger

On March 18, 1990, two thieves broke into the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and stole thirteen work of art, including five works by Edgar Degas - four drawings and a painting. This book imagines the trajectory of the painting, described as one in Degas' Bathers series. [The painting taken from the Gardner was not in the Bathers series.]

Claire Roth is a professional art forger, and works for the fictional reproductions. Her specialty is Degas, although she can copy other masters and genres. Claire is an artist in her own right, but she has been a pariah in the art community for three years. The reason she has been cast out is a key part of the story.

Claire is aproached by art gallery owner Adrien Markel to make a reproduction of the stolen Degas painting, and Markel promises her a one woman show in exchange.

Edward Degas, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Gardner's great grand niece are key players.

I would listen to the narrator of this book, X.E. Sands, read a grocery list. She is just that good, and she was an ideal choice to narrate this book.

I found that the plot, although definitely a tangled web, was predictable in the last third or so. I would have liked to have known more about Gardner herself, and I hope B.A. Shapiro writes more about her, either fiction or non-fiction.

This is B.A. Shapiro's first novel. It's made several best seller lists, and is an Indie Book Dealer Best of 2012. I learned more about oil painting than I ever expected to know - or even thought I'd be interested in. The book isn't teachy, but I learned a lot.

[If you found this review helpful, please let me know by pressing the 'helpful ' button.]

164 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Alternative Foray Into the Art World

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book had all the elements of a good story...interesting premise, intriguing characters, mystery, romance, etc. I liked the foray into the art world from an alternative perspective (forgery). It wasn't perfect...the characters weren't as deep as I would have liked and, of course, their morals were a bit off, and there were parts that were not plausible. But, all in all, it was an enjoying read.

What did you like best about this story?

Alternative art perspective.

What does Xe Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She read the main character as tired and depressed.

If you could take any character from The Art Forger out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The main character, Claire. I would want to know what in her childhood, upbringing caused her to be a "pretender."

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed Bag

While parts of this book were quite interesting, the narration was not very good. All of Ms. Sands' male characters sounded the same, like they had strep throat as well as a hangover. The big surprise at the end was pretty obvious for the last three hours of the book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Art Forger

The story of an artist's passion and the history of the art world were entertaining and engaging. Sadly, there really wasn't enough character development for me to care all that much about what happened to the people in the story. The two leads don't seem to have much in common and Claire comes across as emotionally stunted. The slow, breathy, whiney narration does NOT help with this.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes Reads Like Chic-Lit

The story line is excellent and original - but I mostly napped or fast-forwarded through the Part 1, and the action doesn't really start until Part 2. I usually yawn through interludes where old correspondence is read when such letter-reading interludes are employed merely to add texture. In this case, I became tired of listening to Ms. Gardner's shopping escapades and travels with brand name artists and art critics and I didn't think it mattered to hear about the details of Degas life as seen by someone who knew him. Other readers might love this, so it's just one of my proclivities, or negativities, as the case may be.

There are some sexual diversions, which are brief and succinct, thankfully, because this is not chic-fic, but there are also some passages which are outright pollyanna-ish - there could have been a better way to expand on the moments that the protagonist is finally becoming successful, instead of having her sound like Dorothy clicking her heels, "not in Kansas" any more.

I also think that including sex and romance with the "deal with the devil" is predictable and overdone, but perhaps that helps sell books and to fund the ongoing flow of audiobooks for our consumption and enjoyment, who can figure, except editors and marketing gurus.

The writer masters the true-crime parts of the story effectively, mixing the facts of the actual art heist smoothly with fictional inventions and story arc.

I generally like Xe Sands as a narrator - but for this book I thought she sounded too girlish and neither ironic nor "noir" enough for this story. Her voice occasionally gives an innocence, sensuality and enthusiasm which I didn't think worked with the plot line.

I am giving this a 4 instead of a 5 because of the disconnect between story and reader. I wish I could give it a 4.5, because said disconnect is not a huge factor and only occasionally affected my listening groove.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Wiil buy the paperbook

I wanted to love this book - but I could not get past the narrator's voice.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story. Not such a good narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of The Art Forger to be better than the print version?

I very much liked this story however I almost stopped listening in the beginning as the narrator sounded very whiney and annoying. If you stick with it past the first few chapters the narration improves though could be better.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It kept me interested, not necessarily on edge of seat.

What three words best describe Xe Sands’s voice?

Whiney, annoying

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't Get Past the Horrible Narration

The book rated one star across the board because I couldn't write this brief review without rating each category. I can't rate the story because the narration was so bad. Probably won't buy the paper or kindle versions--my book "reading" takes place in the car.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for London reader
  • London reader
  • 10-30-19

Interesting but unrealistic and racist in parts

I don’t think the author does this deliberately but there are some racist passages for example “buff and and black Emma”. That is not appropriate. Also, by the end of the book I really couldn’t care what happened to Claire. The audience was already lost by then. Claire was hard to like or sympathise with. The narrator over does it at times but overall the story is engaging and different.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. Bernie Ryan
  • Mr. Bernie Ryan
  • 10-13-19

great read

loved it and would highly recommend to other readers. it was an interesting outlook on the art world

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Hiro
  • Hiro
  • 06-16-17

Great story and narration

The author came up with a highly entertaining and captivating fiction based on the biggest unresolved art heist in history.
The voice and style of a narrator is always controversial and a big problem for audiobooks. It's so personal. You can't satisfy everyone.
I liked it a lot.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 04-12-16

Enjoyed it enough that I listened twice

Interesting tale, well told. I am not an artist but I enjoyed the art references.