THE ART FORGER by B.A. Shapiro
This book will have you thinking about ALL the times you (or others) are influenced by what you EXPECT rather than what you actually see or hear or experience. Although Shapiro uses real artist’s names and works, the novel is only loosely – very loosely – based on an actual robbery.
Claire has been blackballed because of art work she has done that was attributed to another and hailed as a masterpiece. Now she is asked to copy (forge?) a masterpiece by Degas that is part of the well-known heist of artwork from the Gardner Museum. I enjoyed learning the “art’ of forgery as much as I enjoyed the plot of the novel.
Claire is believable and likeable. The work of the artist is written so that even artistic ignoramuses (like me) can understand the process.The plot is engrossing and keeps your attention even through the art process sections.
Book groups will have a field day with self-fulfilling prophecy, ethics in the work place, art appreciation, collecting objects (especially valuable ones from other cultures), family secrets, black balling, stolen art and over reaching police. A visit to an art museum, especially one with several Degas works, would be a great introduction or wrap-up for this novel. A corollary discussion might be our attitudes towards novels by “best-selling” authors.