I just finished reading The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro and was swept away into a world of art history, deception and romance. This book came out in October shortly after the high tech art heist at the Rotterdam Museum where works by Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, and others were stolen. The book’s debut couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.
Shapiro bases her novel on America’s biggest unsolved art heist, the 1990 robbery at Boston’s Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum, worth over $300 million! What if one these paintings suddenly reappears? In The Art Forger, the main character is Claire, an artist who is making a living doing Degas reproductions for an online retailer. Claire has already had her reputation tarnished in the art field when she is approached by a well-known gallery owner who offers her a Faustian bargain and brings one of the stolen masterpieces to her studio. If Claire will paint a forgery of one of the famous missing paintings, his gallery will do a show of her personal artwork. It is an offer she can’t refuse, but as she examines the original painting further, she realizes that there are problems with the Degas painting. Could it be a forgery? Things are not what they appear in this thoroughly engaging romp in the art world. This title is a perfect read for book clubs!