By Laney Salisbury
The precise tale of 1 of the 20th century's such a lot audacious paintings frauds
packed with remarkable characters and instructed at breakneck pace, Provenance reads like a well-plotted mystery. yet this can be most definitely now not fiction. it's the striking narrative of 1 of the main far-reaching and complex cons within the heritage of artwork forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to manhattan, investigative journalists Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the story of notorious con guy and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his companion, the affable artist John Myatt. jointly they exploited the information of British paintings associations to irrevocably legitimize the masses of items they solid, lots of that are nonetheless thought of actual and hold in trendy museums and personal collections this day.
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Extra info for Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
Volpe requested Drewe no matter if he had positioned fake records within the Tate and V&A data. Drewe denied it. “But you’ve been visible exhibiting Bartos a faux Hanover Gallery catalog whenever you have been within the V&A,” the detective acknowledged. “We came across the true catalog in a V&A bag at your place the day after that assembly. How do you clarify that? ” “Berger gave me the catalog,” Drewe acknowledged with out hesitation. Volpe expressed his trust that Drewe had performed havoc with the documents of the Whitechapel Gallery in addition to galleries and museums in Brighton, tub, and Leeds. For a second Drewe looked as if it would lose his composure. “I don’t care what files you’ve got,” he stated. “I don’t care what humans inform you or what statements they’ve given. I’ll refute them. It’s a stitch-up. ” It was once overdue afternoon, and the detectives advised Drewe and his attorney that they have been performed for the day. they'd resume the next day. For the following couple of days Drewe got here in and replied their questions in higher element. via the top of the 5th day, the police felt they'd sufficient to counter every one of his statements. The formal interrogation used to be over, yet Volpe may perhaps infrequently comprise his inflammation. For the earlier week he had labored difficult to maintain his distaste for Drewe in money. Now he sought after him to understand he hadn’t got his tale. while Drewe bought as much as depart, Volpe stopped him and pointed on the door. “Mr. Drewe, are you able to inform me what colour that door is? ” he requested. “Well, Mr. Volpe, it’s blue,” acknowledged Drewe. Volpe thanked him. “That’s the 1st honest solution you’ve given me in 5 days. ” by way of past due 1996, the detectives had winnowed down thousands of witness statements and pulled jointly an exceptional choice of indicates. Drewe’s attorney had agreed on an ordeal date. In December, simply days ahead of the 1st courtroom listening to, Drewe was once rushed to East Surrey medical institution with a suspected middle assault. The pass judgement on acquired a doctor’s word asserting that Drewe suffered from risky angina and wanted 8 weeks’ mattress relaxation. If in any respect attainable, he can be spared the strain of a court docket visual appeal. a number of days later Drewe was once clinically determined with diabetes and high blood pressure and hospitalized for “urgent cardiac investigations. ” months later the pass judgement on back ordered Drewe to seem in courtroom, yet Drewe produced another record urging additional clinical awareness. Summonses went unheeded, and the prosecution got a replica of an angiogram that they'd later think to were faked—in what possibly was once the 1st case of somebody stealing the “identity” of the interior of one other person’s middle. ultimately, on might nine, 1997, 13 months after the raid on Drewe’s domestic, the courtroom issued a warrant for his arrest. “Get him right here, no matter if he’s on a stretcher,” acknowledged the pass judgement on. officials went to Drewe’s condominium to convey him in. Atarah got here to the door. Her father used to be away, she stated, after which she excused herself to take a mobile name. The officials waited on the door whereas police traced the decision to a cafe on Marylebone Lane. Detectives rushed to the eating place. the chief informed them guy reminiscent of Drewe had simply left, yet that he were overheard conversing at the telephone.