Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World


August 28 - October 26, 2014

Follow the Canton Museum of Art into the intrigue-filled world of art forgery as we present the Midwest premiere of Intent to Deceive, a national touring exhibition which will challenge gallery visitors to spy original masters from forged copies. This ground-breaking exhibition spotlights five of the world's most notorious con artists, illuminating their dubious legacies and examining how their talents and audacity assaulted the art world for much of the 20th century through the present day. See the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac and others among clever fakes — what is real and what do you think is real? 

Special Ticketed Exhibition: Tickets for this special exhibition are: $15, Adults; $10, Seniors and Students (with valid I.D.); Museum Members are Free; and Children 12 and Under, Free. Group discounts available — please call 330.453.7666 for information. Tickets are available at the Museum Ticket Office during Museum hours, or by calling 330.453.7666, 10am – 5pm weekdays, to reserve tickets. Advance tickets may be picked up at the Museum. For group visits and tours, please call Lynn Daverio at 330.453.7666 prior to your visit for reservations and/or to request a docent-led tour.


Opening Celebration             About the Exhibit             Art Forgery in the News

Exhibit Related Events          Explore Intent to Deceive (Gallery, Forger Profiles & More)

"...authentically fascinating!" (Tampa Bay Times, May 29, 2014)

Organized by International Arts & Artists of Washington, D.C. and curated by Colette Loll, Founder and Director of Art Fraud Insights, Intent to Deceive features works by some of the world's most notorious art forgers, illuminates their dubious legacies, and examines how their skills beguiled the art world for much of the 20th century. Art fraud and forgery have characterized the dark side of the art landscape for centuries, and counterfeiting of fine art has proven to be a lucrative pursuit throughout history.

This new exhibition has garnered national attention through features in “The New York Times,” “The Boston Globe” and on the CBS Evening News following its first two stops in Massachusetts and Florida.

Special Thanks to: Intent to Deceive is made possible in part with support from the Community Charitable Fund at Stark Community Foundation and from the Canton Museum of Art Volunteer Angels.

About the Exhibit

Featured in the exhibit are five of the art world's most infamous con artists, including Elmyr de Hory, the subject of Orson Welles’ film “F for Fake,” and Mark Landis, a serial counterfeiter recently profiled in “The New Yorker” (August 2013) for making gifts of his “art” to museums around the country. Han van Meegeren, who stood trial in Amsterdam in 1947 for his Vermeer forgeries in Europe, is considered to be one of the most ingenious art forgers of the 20th century. Also included are Eric Hebborn and John Myatt, both known for promoting their “how-to” of art forgery, which may have cost Hebborn his life in 1996.

The exhibit is divided into sections that examine each forger's career. On display will be works created by the forger, personal effects and ephemera, photographs, film clips, and examples of the material and explanations of the techniques used to create these convincing artworks. More than 12 original works by artists such as Charles Courtney Curran, Honoré Daumier, Raoul Dufy, Philip de Lászlό, Henri Matisse, Joan Mirό, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac and Maurice de Vlaminck are juxtaposed with the nearly 50 fakes from the world's most accomplished art forgers to test perceptions of authenticity. The exhibit will also explore how art experts used modern technology to unveil the forgeries. 

All of the forgers were unable to make a career based on their own artistic style. So they found fakery, the exact duplication of an original work of art, and forgery, the creation and selling of a work of art which is falsely credited to another, to be their most accessible avenue to recognition and commercial success. These ingenious forgers shook the art field with their exploits — garnering each of them worldwide notoriety, and an untimely death in the case of van Meegeren, de Hory and Hebborn.

Intent to Deceive curator Colette Loll said, “Fakes and forgeries were once the dirty little secret of the art world, and no gallery, museum or auction house has ever been entirely free from the embarrassment of a costly error of misattribution or faulty provenance. A recent flurry of books, conferences and exhibitions dedicated to fakes, forgeries, mistakes, and misattributions is evidence that the age-old art of forgery has never intrigued the public more than it does today.”

Delving into the psyche and behavior of art forgers in the 20th century through the present day, Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World offers insight into some of the world’s most notorious con artists and the museums subject to their deceit. At times, art forgers have garnered public sympathy by throwing onto themselves the stereotype of a talented but undiscovered artist. This dynamic exhibition, however, de-romanticizes art fraud to show it is not a victimless crime. The forgeries, each a crime of opportunity, come from a cunning and deliberate intent to deceive.

“... perhaps the most authoritative exhibition yet detailing the multimillion-dollar copycat industry.”
                                                                – Boston Globe, January 21, 2014

Learn More About the Exhibition: go inside the art of forgery and explore Intent to Deceive (In-Depth Forger Profiles, Online Gallery, Videos and more)...


Exhibit Related Events:

Opening Night Preview Celebration
Wednesday, August 27 • 6:00 – 9:00pm

Canton Museum of Art
Museum Members: $45 • Non-Members: $65 (includes 1-year Individual Museum Membership)
LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE! Learn more about the exciting events at the opening, and Reserve Your Tickets Now at 330.453.7666 ... or ... REGISTER ONLINE NOW!

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The Three F's of Art Crime: Frauds, Forgeries and Fakes — An Evening with Robert Wittman
Thursday, September 4 • 6 – 8:30pm
Canton Palace Theatre
605 Market Avenue North
Canton, Ohio 44702

6 – 6:30p Wine & Light Fare Reception
6:45 – 8:00p Presentation
8 – 8:30pm Informal Book Signing

Journey into the highest levels of deception in the art world! Enter the realm of frauds, forgeries and fakes with renowned art investigator and founder of the FBI's National Art Crime Team, Robert Wittman. He served for 20 years as the FBI's investigative expert in the art field, and he is responsible for recovering more than $300 million in stolen art and cultural property around the world. Since retiring from the FBI in 2008, he authored the New York Times Best Seller “Priceless — How I Went Undercover to Rescue The World's Stolen Treasures.”

Tickets: $25 General / $20 CMA Members
For Tickets, Call 330.453.7666 - Order Tickets Secure Online Here
SPECIAL! Non-Members Show Your Ticket at the Museum for One FREE Admission to the exhibit!

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First Friday @ Canton Museum of Art — The Great Masters as Teachers
Friday, September 5 • 5:30 – 8pm

Canton Museum of Art

Come enjoy the First Friday “First Stop” at the Canton Museum of Art, featuring a grand display of artwork from Canton artist and teacher Frank Dale and more than 20 of his students! “The Great Masters as Teachers” showcases 47 works based on paintings of 21 Masters, whose works span 500 years of oil painting. Learn the process of recreating a masterpiece as you explore past and present! Enjoy a delicious selection of foods, wine, music and FREE admission to the Intent to Deceive exhibit. 

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The Art of Deception
Wednesday, October 1 • 6 – 7:30pm

Canton Museum of Art / Cultural Center for the Arts — Cable Hall

Art fraud expert Colette Loll, curator of Intent to Deceive, discusses the five forgers profiled in the exhibition, detailing their infamous legacies and how their charm and talent deceived and shook the art world. Mark Forgy, heir to forger Elmyr de Hory’s estate and author of “The Forger’s Apprentice: Life with the World’s Most Notorious Artist,” will also take the stage and share his intimate and personal view of the man who turned the art world upside down. An informal book signing will follow. SEATING IS LIMITED!

Tickets: $25 General / $20 CMA Members
For Tickets, Call 330.453.7666 - Order Tickets Secure Online Here
SPECIAL! Non-Members Show Your Ticket at the Museum for FREE Admission to the exhibit!

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Art Crime Film Festival
Thursday, September 25 and Thursday, October 9 • 7:30pm

Canton Palace Theatre
605 Market Avenue North
Canton, Ohio 44702
Tickets: $5.00 — Available at the Door

THE RAPE OF EUROPA (2006) — Thursday, September 25, 7:30pm
“The Rape of Europa” tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and World War II. In a journey through seven countries, the film takes viewers into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But heroic young art historians and curators from
America and across Europe fought back with an extraordinary campaign to rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures. Now, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war. Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.

ART AND CRAFT (2014) — Thursday, October 9, 7:30pm
Mark Landis is perhaps the most prolific art forger the U.S. has ever seen. He’s duped curators throughout the nation with precise imitations from Matisse to Picasso, curiously never asking for money, but instead donating his counterfeits free of charge. After 30 years of conning the art industry, Landis is first discovered by Matthew Leininger, a registrar from Cincinnati, who has since dedicated years to tracking the man who hoodwinked him, in search of answers. But Landis’ motivations are far more layered than simple deception. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, there’s a question if he even knows that he is being deceptive at all. Through a richly complex lens, “Art and Craft” delicately balances a portrait of an outsider living with mental illness and the universal desire to be a part of a community. “Perversely satisfying…The art world deserves him.” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times


The Con Artist: A Multimillion Dollar Art Scam
CBS 60 Minutes - August 3, 2014

For decades, art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi made millions in a scam that eventually led him to a six-year prison sentence and lawsuits totaling $27 million.

NPR's Snap Judgment, "Elmyr / The Grand Illusion"
National Public Radio - August 3, 2014

NPR's Snap Judgment takes an inside look at Mark Forgy, apprentice to art forger Elmyr de Hory. Forgy was an All American boy from the midwest backpacking through Europe, when a chance meeting with a total stranger changed his life forever.

Masterpieces of Deception: Some Fake Art Worth Real Money
CBS NEWS - April 16, 2014
... It's a fake. "But it's a very important fake," Intent to Deceive Curator Colette Loll stresses. "It's a copy of a 1622 Dutch masterpiece, "The Procuress," executed in the 1940s by notorious forger Han Van Meegeren. "Just because it's a fake doesn't mean it's not valuable," Loll says. "Socially and culturally, it's very valuable."
Learn More About Forgers Han van Meegeren and Elmyr de Hory

"... Some Forgeries Are Faker Than Others (But Better Not Trust Your Eyes)"
Forbes - March 27, 2014
In 1967, the aristocratic Hungarian art collector Elmyr de Hory told his neighbor a secret. All the modern masters on the walls of his Ibiza mansion were fakes; he was the real painter. Others that he’d made, including artwork attributed to Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, had been sold to museums around the world. He’d lost his family fortune with the Second World War. Forgery was how de Hory made his living.

Intent to Deceive Takes a Close Look at Famous Forgers

The Recorder, Greenfield, MA - March 26, 2014
... [Intent to Deceive] profiles five men with artistic talent who fooled the critics and experts, in some cases, for decades. A novelist, in his wildest fever dreams, couldn’t conjure up their eccentric lives. There’s a suicide, an unsolved murder and a particular form of madness among the quintet and their contrary endings are the stuff of Agatha Christie and O. Henry stories. Whether it’s a fake, a replication of an existing valuable artwork, a forgery or a painting created “in the style of” a well-known artist, the fraudulent dark arts business seems to carry serious health risks.

“So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real”
From The New York Times, December 31, 2013
A 24-hour escort is not an unusual requirement for valuable international museum loans. What makes the security arrangements — estimated to cost more than $31,000 — notable in this case is that the painting is a fake. The works in Intent to Deceive are less art than artifacts; they have genuine historical significance. In that sense, these fakes underscore the persistent appeal of the real thing.

Read more about art forgery in the news at the Intent to Deceive exhibition website ...

Learn more about master forger Elmyr de Hory and The Forger's Apprentice ...


  Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

Curated by Colette Loll