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self-fulfillling prophecy run pampant
This book will have you thinking about ALL the times you (or others) are influenced by what you EXPECT rather than what you actually see or hear or experience.
Although Shapiro uses real artist’s names and works, the novel is only loosely – very loosely – based on an actual robbery. Claire has been blackballed because of art work she has done that was attributed to another and hailed as a masterpiece. Now she is asked to copy (forge?) a masterpiece by Degas that is part of the well-known heist of artwork from the Gardner Museum. I enjoyed learning the “art’ of forgery as much as I enjoyed the plot of the novel. Claire is believable and likeable. The work of the artist is written so that even artistic ignoramuses (like me) can understand the process.
The plot is engrossing and keeps your attention even through the art process sections. Book groups will have a field day with self-fulfilling prophecy, ethics in the work place, art appreciation, collecting objects (especially valuable ones from other cultures), family secrets, black balling, stolen art and over reaching police. A visit to an art museum, especially one with several Degas works, would be a great introduction or wrap-up for this novel. A corollary discussion might be our attitudes towards novels by “best-selling” authors.
The Art Forger is not only entertaining but teaches us about the world of art and for someone like me who knew nothing of the subject when I picked up the book, has really opened my eyes and provided me with a lot of fascinating information that I had no previous knowledge of.
The Art Forger
This entire story is phenomenal and ingeniously plotted. I thought I had it figured out but I was dead wrong! I thought Ms. Shapiro presented a well-rounded tale of this famous art heist and would highly recommend The Art Forger to anyone. There is mystery, suspense, love, and betrayal all packed into one fast-paced, seamless read. Well-done!!
This book is less a mystery, even though it is about the Gardiner museum heist, and more a journey through the art world. Buying, selling, reproducing, copying and acquiring, all of which are portrayed in this novel. A;though everything in the book is not historically accurate, as the author herself agrees, it is well researched as far as painters and techniques are concerned. Actually three different threads combine to feature each different part of the story. Liked meeting Degas, if only in this book as well as Gardner, Henry James and other notables. Art lovers will find much to like in this well written book and immerse themselves in the love and alternately greed that true art collectors display in their pursuit of famous art works. My favorite part was actually the character of Claire, she was so flawed but wanting to do right, yet always talking herself into things for various reasons, like many of us do.. Didn't like either of the two men she loved, neither of them had any admirable qualities that I could see. Will look forward to seeing what this new author writes next.
Samantha H. (Dallas, TX)
Detailed Portait of and Artist
Shapiro's knowledge of the art world, and Degas in particular, is apparent. Her description of the impressionist's technique and style are thoroughly researched. This attention to detail never bogs down the plot, on the contrary, Shapiro ties it in to her plot expertly. The jumps from times present to past and back again kept me interested. I would definitely recommend this book.
Pam S. (MA)
The Art Forger
This debut novel set in current day Boston was a fun interesting read.
Debra V. (Kenosha, WI)
The Art Forger
The main character – Claire Roth – is a talented artist who because of a scandal early in her career has turned to copying masterpieces for a living. She is asked by a prominent gallery owner to copy a Degas painting for one of his clients. The subject sounds dry but in fact the story is a fast-paced and convoluted mystery and Shapiro is a good writer. We learn much about the Boston art world, the 1990 Gardner Museum art heist, and history about Isabella Stewart Gardner and her museum. The "mystery" behind this work of art moves the story along quickly and the involvement of the Boston Police and the FBI puts it in the quasi-thriller category.
Loved this book -- a well written look inside the art world from the artist perspective. The technical aspect of art forgery was facinating and was probably the best part of the story for me. Would recommend this book to anyone who loves art as well as a good mystery.
Vivian T. (Charleston, WV)
Limited Approach to Art History/Forgery made Enjoyable
I wasn't quite sure if I was going to enjoy THE ART FORGER but I was intrigued by the subject matter as a former resident of Boston around the time of the Gardner heist. Imagine my surprise when I found myself pulled into the story. Ms. Shapiro has crafted a story that provides an amazing glimpse into the history of art forgery as well as the history of Isabella Stewart Gardner. The characters are realistic and neither lovable nor despicable (for the most part). I empathized with Claire Roth throughout the story and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.
Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
The combination of Claire's history of forgery, her present circumstances with reproduction and forgery, and the inclusion of specifics on forgery throughout history made for an extremely enjoyable read. By the time I finished reading THE ART FORGER, I was tempted to find local classes on art history and forgery just to learn more. This isn't a quick read but is definitely a memorable and enjoyable read. I strongly recommend THE ART FORGER.
This book came to me as I was plodding through a tedious library book. How great to go from barely-getting-through-it to a book that I almost couldn't put down! Not only does Shapiro offer us a glimpse into the world struggling artists, but we get a fascinating look at the techniques and skills of high end art forgers.
With a protagonist I genuinely liked, enough plot twists to keep me turning pages, and a reality-based framework, this book was hugely enjoyable to read. hapiro kept me entertained and intrigued from page one. I have already given it to my husband to read, and will highly recommend it to others. On a side note - I am now looking at paintings in galleries and museums in a completely different light. The wet on wet technique of modern artists vs. the wet on dry of previous generations; the luminescent quality of oils - I will never look at a Degas the same way again!