Philip Mould

The Dark Art of Fakery

I Was Vermeer: The Legend of the Forger Who Swindled the Nazis

By

Bloomsbury 276pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Art forgers have a tendency to present themselves as bohemian rebels, heroically cocking a snook at an immoral art market. Scratch a little deeper, however, and the reality is rather more mundane. Most of them are embittered or failed artists who behave no differently from credit-card fraudsters, except that they use rather more talent to swindle their victims. I met two in my time: Eric Hebborn and Tom Keating. They both struck me as disingenuous types, Hebborn particularly so, a drunk who was happy to wear the mantle of the artistic rebel to disguise an absence of principle.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,