Thursday, April 18, 2024

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.


One sunny April afternoon in 1990 two Englishman strode up the steps of London's Tate Gallery, passed beneath the imposing statues atop the pediment — Britannia, the lion, and the unicorn — and made their way through the grand portico into one of the world's great museums.

-- from Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. 

I just started this nonfiction book about an elaborate art scam and am completely sucked in. 


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.


From Provenance
After several more visits to Jane Drew's country home, Drewe began systematically widening his circle of art world acquaintances by dropping her name and inviting members of the establishment to lunch with them. He reserved tables at Claridge's or at L'Escargot in Soho for such eminent Londoners as the former head of the Tate Gallery, Alan Bowness — Ben Nicholson's son-in-law — and the art critic David Sylvester, who had once had his portrait painted by Giacometti.


Filled with extraordinary characters and told at breakneck speed, Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller. But this is most certainly not fiction. It is the astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to New York, investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the tale of infamous con man and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt. Together they exploited the archives of British art institutions to irrevocably legitimize the hundreds of pieces they forged, many of which are still considered genuine and hang in prominent museums and private collections today.


  1. I bet history is made up of more "characters" then most people would guess. Thanks for hosting and sharing.

  2. These snippets really grab your attention. Sounds like a good one.

  3. That sounds like a fascinating read! You always find the most interesting books.

  4. The art theft book sounds interesting.


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