The Art Forger
By B.A Shapiro
Algonquin Book~ 2012
My Rating: 4/5 ⭐️
“The insanity of the artist as equal to the insanity of the collector.” I’m always a sucker for a good art crime novel!! Here’s my breakdown of The Art Forger, by B.A Shapiro:
What I liked:
*My favorite things about the novel was that it posed an important philosophical question about Art and Art’s purpose. – If something is a forgery, and it’s so identical to the original that it ends up hanging on the wall of a museum for 50+ years, does that mean that it is any less of a masterpiece than the original? I loved the way the book grappled with this question.
*The detailed descriptions of the painting/reproduction process. The detailed work that goes into layering and baking a canvas in order to create the wear and tear of time was really interesting. I felt like I was getting a crash course in art forgery. This so really interesting to me because I’ve always been obsessed with the art world, but if this is not your thing, I could see how all of that detail might seem boring.
*The history of Isabella Stewart Gardner, her letters, her museum, and her relationship to Degas was fascinating. Shapiro made Gardner feel like a real character operating in the book’s present, rather than a historical figure removed from the plot.
*The connection to the real 1990 robbery was also thrilling and made it feel more like a “true crime” novel.
What I didn’t like:
*Characters are not completely rounded out. We get a lot of backstory on Claire but not a lot of in-depth, inner dialogue.
*Ending seemed really rushed. 10 pages before the end of the book there was no indication that things were going to be wrapping up soon, and then out of nowhere, a resolution to every problem falls from the sky. It felt hastily thrown together.
*The relationship between Claire and Aiden seemed disingenuous. Their relationship just didn’t add anything to the movement of the plot for me so I would have liked it better if Shapiro would have just focused on Claire alone.
This book was a really great read. It fulfilled my need for true crime, while also fulfilling my love for the art world. I would recommend this to anyone who shares my affinity for art crime. Let me know if you’ve read it already or plan to! 😉
For more information on this book, click here: The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro Thanks for stopping by and happy reading! ~XO