Two forthcoming books approach this question from opposite sides. Anthony M. Amore’s The Art of the Con recounts notorious art forgeries, thefts, and fraudulent sales with all the salacious detail of a heist movie. Noah Charney’s more ruminative The Art of Forgery, on the other hand, takes a more empathetic view. “Forgers are complex psychological characters,” Charney writes, “driven by many different impulses to a life of crime.”
From these books, here are eight of the shrewdest, strangest, and most imaginative ruses in the history of art.