The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro:
“On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.
Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting—the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner—is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. it’s a dazzling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.”
While The Art Forger is an easy novel to recommend to painters and museum staff, it has broad appeal for anyone who has an appreciation of priceless art and love for museums. Claire Roth is an artist hungry to make a name for herself and is given a chance at her own art show. She is still working to shake off a relationship gone wrong, in more ways than one. Before the show can go on she must create a forged copy of one of Degas masterpieces, ready to fool even the experts into believing it is the real thing. This is no easy feat for Claire but she is trained in reproductions and gives it her all. It almost seems like a deal with the devil himself, a very charming devil – art gallery owner Aiden Markel. Art obsession and personal betrayal are wrapped up in this slowly-building thriller that kept me reading til the last page. Four stars to this wonderful read.