Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

By Ken Perenyi

The precise confessions of the main notorious art-forger in American history―a catch-me-if-you-can caper that finds the interior workings of the paintings world.

Featured on CBS SUNDAY MORNING and NBC's TODAY

For over thirty years, Ken Perenyi raked in riches via forging masterpieces, convincing even the main discerning specialists that his works have been authentic.

Growing up as a working-class child in fortress Lee, New Jersey, Perenyi by no means dreamed of turning into an paintings forger. even if, whilst he stumbled upon The fort, a wide crumbling property in his local, he stumbled on himself in the course of the hot York avant-garde paintings scene. lower than their mentorship, he came upon he possessed a preternatural skill to mimic the works of previous masters, a capability that rejected even the main certified specialists and catapulted him to a lifetime of riches.

Honest, gripping, and astounding, Caveat Emptor reveals the ironies latent to the paintings international, whereas telling the dramatic tale of the way Perenyi controlled to tug it off.

 

32 pages of colour photos

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We parked in again of the mansion, walked round to front, and knocked at the gigantic old door. After a few moments, we heard the sound of bolts being thrown open. We have been greeted via a tall, aristocratic-looking guy wearing a gloomy swimsuit and tie. His bald head and sought after nostril jogged my memory of Charles de Gaulle’s. He appeared instantly at me with piercing hazel eyes and welcomed us in. i used to be speechless the instant I stepped into the doorway corridor, the place amazing work in vintage gold frames contrasted superbly with the lavender partitions. extraordinary items of old sculpture stood subsequent to the entrances of a number of the rooms. With a wave of his hand, Jimmy graciously led us via to a drawing room containing extra appealing work. the entire furnishings used to be Empire, Jimmy’s favourite, circa 1820, the approximate time the home have been outfitted. Jimmy motioned us towards an Empire couch as he settled into an armchair. I knew instantly that i used to be within the presence of an exceptionally clever, particular person who can be quite eloquent one second after which gruff, even smug, the following. “I have in mind seeing you down at Sonny’s,” he stated. “He had one in every of my Benjamin Wests on the time. ” I couldn’t bear in mind seeing him and so quick grew to become the topic to the heritage of the home and his striking selection of work. As Jimmy rambled on and that i glanced round, i spotted that there wasn’t a unmarried factor in sight, no longer even a lamp, that jogged my memory that we have been within the 20th century. Like Mr. Jory’s store, the ambience in Jimmy’s domestic used to be mesmerizing. the home used to be enveloped in a superb silence, damaged basically by way of the occasional name of the crows open air. A woody smell universal to old constructions permeated the air. every thing used to be a bit light, a bit dusty, and, like Jimmy himself, a piece frayed on the edges. From the trails worn alongside the outdated pine flooring to the splits within the silk upholstery, every thing confident me that not anything the following was once contrived. Even Jimmy was once like a ghost from one other century. or maybe, I mused, might be I’m mistaken, perhaps this is often all staged, an act wear for my profit? regardless of the case, I had by no means stumble upon whatever really like this earlier than, and that i fell completely and entirely lower than Jimmy Ricau’s spell. Our stopover at got here to an finish because the solar started to set and the gentle gentle within the drawing room grew dim. Casually, sooner than Paul and that i acquired as much as go away, Jimmy pointed out that he’d visible some of my work and notion they have been rather well performed. As he walked us to the door, he recommended that I come again the following day, ideally within the morning, and shall we spend the day “looking at images. ” That night, Paul invited a couple of acquaintances over for a cocktail party, and Jimmy Ricau used to be the most subject of dialog. James Henri Ricau have been born in 1916 to an previous New Orleans kinfolk. He were despatched to the easiest faculties, obtained a classical schooling, and finally entered the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Jimmy cultivated an everlasting love of Greek sculpture, neoclassical portray, and literature.

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