Art Forger (Shapiro)

Book Reviews
Shapiro writes with assurance, even if she stumbles over the odd phrase or detail.... For those willing to forgive the occasional misstep, The Art Forger will reward their forbearance and, through its engaging premise, their intelligence.... In the end, with plots uncovered and deceptions laid bare, Shapiro’s abiding mystery lies not in the act of forgery itself but in its elusive morality. As Claire reminds us, people see “what they want to see.”
Maxwell Carter - New York Times Book Review


Precise and exciting.... Readers seeking an engaging novel about artists and art scandals will find The Art Forger rewarding for its skillful balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered narration rich with a sense of moral consequence.
Washington Post


Ingeniously and skillfully plotted.
Huffington Post


Shapiro’s new novel (after The Safe Room) is filled with delightful twists, turns, and ruminations on what constitutes truth in art. Broke and painting copies of famous artists’ work for a reproduction site, artist Claire Roth is enticed by gallery owner Aidan Markel’s request to forge a painting by Degas that was stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in 1990 (in the largest unsolved art heist in history). As Claire works, she wonders if the painting she’s forging is legitimate. Meanwhile, Claire steps in when her blocked artist lover can’t finish his work for a deadline, essentially painting what becomes something of an art world sensation. Her lover slips into denial about her contribution and Claire weighs the repercussions of going public, knowing that it will damage her reputation even more badly than her heart. An intricate shell game exploring the permutations of the craft and ethics of art, Shapiro’s novel is a lively ride, melding Claire’s discoveries with fictionalized 19th-century letters from Gardner that hint at even deeper complexities. The wit, Claire’s passion for her work, what it takes to create a piece that can pass modern scrutiny, and the behind-the-scenes look at the lives of working artists and the machinations of the art world overcome an ending that ties things up too neatly. The choice of present tense for much of the book keeps the reader at a remove from the action, but Shapiro’s research, well-integrated into a strong premise, captivates..
Publishers Weekly


By page two of this novel, the reader is fully engrossed into the world of struggling artist Claire Roth, nicknamed "The Great Pretender" who copies famous paintings for a website called Reproductions.com....This well-researched work combines real elements (though After the Bath never existed) with the understanding that the art world is as fragile and precarious as the art itself, particularly for young hopefuls. —Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH
Library Journal


Classy and pleasurably suspenseful.... An entrancingly visual, historically rich, deliciously witty, sensuous, and smart tale of authenticity versus fakery in which Shapiro artfully turns a clever caper into a provocative meditation on what we value most.
Booklist


A cleverly plotted art-world thriller/romance with a murky moral core. That nobody knows anything seems to be Shapiro's (The Safe Room, 2002, etc., as Barbara Shapiro) assessment of art authentication, given the number of misdetected paintings strewn through her engrossing if unlikely story.... Despite a shaky premise, this is convincingly researched, engaging storytelling. Intelligent entertainment.
Kirkus Reviews

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