The Art Forger
Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum--still the largest unsolved art theft in history--one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece--the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years--may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing--and not seeing--the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.
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Claire is a struggling artist who makes her living doing copying famous artists, especially Degas. Aiden is an influential gallery owner who offers her a huge sum and her own show if she will forge the Degas stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum. Should she take this deal with the devil? What if she falls in love with the devil? Fascinating details about the forgery process, but the plot gets a little convoluted.
There was never any doubt that Claire Roth was an exceptionally gifted painter. But in The Art Forger, by B. A. Shapiro, her troubles begin when she creates a piece for her boyfriend Isaac, a famous but blocked artist. He gratefully submits the work as his own for a prestigious MoMA commission. The painting becomes an instant sensation, and overnight Isaac is the new darling of the art world. He unceremoniously dumps Claire but continues to reap the benefits associated with her work.
Disgusted with Isaac’s refusal to acknowledge her part in his meteoric rise to superstardom, Claire takes matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, her efforts only result in her immediate status change to pariah. No one of any consequence will even preview her new paintings.
Out of the blue, Claire is offered a solo exhibit in a trendy gallery. But there is one stipulation. How far will Claire sink to get visibility for her latest series of masterpieces?
The Art Forger is a beautifully crafted novel that brings the art world to life. Shapiro blends facts from the largest art heist in history into an intriguing mystery featuring a young artist, Claire Roth, who has been blackballed in the art scene. Claire is very talented in reproductions and specializes in the works of Edgar Degas. When the owner of one of the most prestigious galleries offers her a one woman show in exchange for forging one of the paintings that was stolen from the Gardner Museum, she is both flattered and morally challenged. When the painting arrives in her apartment to copy she begins to question whether or not it is in fact an original painted by Degas. Alternating between her current situation and the scandal from the past that has caused Claire such pain and introspection, Shapiro creates an intriguing glimpse into the world of art.
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