Wednesday, July 18, 2012

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Caveat Emptor

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ten years ago, an FBI investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York 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 book, Caveat Emptor, is Ken Perenyi s confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off.

Glamorous stories of art-world scandal have always captured the public imagination. However, not since Clifford Irving s 1969 bestselling Fake has there been a story at all like this one. Caveat Emptor is unique in that it is the first and only book by and about America s first and only great art forger. And 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.

In the tradition of Frank Abagnale's Catch Me If You Can, and certain to be a bombshell for the major international auction houses and galleries, here is the story of America's greatest art forger.

Publishing August 1, 2012 by Pegasus Books.

1 comment:


Unconvicted because never charged yet fully admitting his past,
American art forger Ken Perenyi's ghostwritten "memoir" (scare quotes
intended) titled "CAVEAT EMPTOR: The Secret Life of an American Art
Forger", the ghostwritten confessional tell-all of how a "tune in,
turn on, drop out" high school kid from 1960s New Jersey learned to
forge the great 19th century American artists and dupe the biggest
auction houses and galleries in New York and London for 30 years
without getting caught, was edited by Claiborne Hancock at Pegasus
Books and agented by Don Fehr at Trident Media Group.

Perenyi, a Hungarian-American most likely, given his noble surname,
barely finished ninth grade, but his ghostwriter (name withheld but
mentioned in the book's acknowledgements page) illustrates how he
became one of America’s top unethical dishonest art forgers. Why the
culture that spawned him in now celebrating him as culture hero and
celebrity, with a movie option on the table as well, is beyond words.
But this is America, and "catch me if you can" is the going motto,
Madoff to Perenyi. Thing is Madoff got caught and charged (and
sentenced), while Perenyi walked scot free.

SNYNOPSIS: When Perenyi met Tony Masaccio, who lived in a building
called the “Castle” near the author’s hometown of Fort Lee, N.J., he
was a young uneducated and untutored guy, a blank slate just waiting
for someone with chalk. The Castle was a center of cosmic energy where
dozens of people showed up for Masaccio’s parties and long, lost
weekends in the 1960s. When he discovered his talent for art, Tom
Daly, a local artist, took Perenyi under his wing, sharing his
artistic knowledge and encouraging his eager student to learn by
copying great works. A book about Han van Meegeren, a Dutch art
forger, taught the author the basic principles of forgery, and a job
working for a conservator allowed him to hone his talents. Visits with
Daly and Masaccio to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the auction
rooms of New York City gave Perenyi all he needed to begin producing
his “Flemish” paintings. He began with Dutch paintings and moved on to
American art and then British sporting pictures. He never copied known
works, but he developed an eye for what inspired the artists and
created paintings that they could very well have done, always using
authentic materials. His eager buyers ranged from local shops to the
great auction houses of New York and London.
Some readers who don't care about ethics or honesty in America might
be be captivated as they follow the development of this remarkable yet
flawed talent over a 40-year career. Ghostwtitten by Allan Smithee.