Mrs Smith Reads The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro, #CBR5, Review 22



I read a lot of non-fiction books about art forgery and was intrigued by the premise of the fictional novel The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. At the prompting of a friend, I dove in. I won’t say it’s my most favorite fictional story about art and artists that I’ve ever read, but it was reasonably enjoyable, and the forgery details were pretty well researched, so I have to give Shapiro props for making the experience more enjoyable because i wasn’t constantly howling over inaccurate historical details or technical minutiae.

Clare Roth is a painter with a past. She is skilled and talented, but her reputation is tarnished, so she gets by painting reproductions of other artist’s work for a company that commissions sofa art (real paintings that decorators buy for size and color palette rather than artistic merit) which can be direct copies or “in the style of” famous artist’s works. Claire’s particular talent is in imitating Degas’ Impressionistic style.

 Mrs Smith Reads The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #68: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

Claire is a pariah in the art world. Though she continues to paint and work on her own art, she cannot get a show, and struggles to sell her work. As a result, she also works for a website that sells quality reproductions of paintings by the masters, her particular specialty being Degas. At the beginning of the novel, Claire receives a visit from Aiden, a gallery owner that she knew before she became an outcast, and he makes a proposition to her: he has somehow gotten a hold of a Degas painting that was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and wants her to make a reproduction of it. His arguments, the money and the promise of her own work being shown at his gallery are all too tempting to resist, and Claire agrees to copy this missing masterpiece.

The rest is at my blog.