Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Price Will a Struggling Artist Pay For Success? The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro


Claire is a talented artist who has been black balled by the art establishment in Boston. Her lover, Isaac, a well known artist, was blocked. To help him, Claire painted a picture in his style for a show at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The picture was a sensation. With all the stress of publicity, Isaac left her. When she tried to claim the picture was hers, the art world closed ranks with MOMA leaving her outside.

She's become a Degas expert, painting reproductions for Repro.com. Suddenly she's offered another chance. Aiden Markal, owner of a prestigious art gallery, offers her the chance to copy a Degas and earn a show at his gallery, but the Degas turns out to be the one stolen from the Gardner Museum in the famous 1990 heist. Now Claire has a choice. Should she take the Faustian bargain and work for Markel, or turn it down? And what price will be demanded in the end, if she agrees?

I found this book interesting on several levels. The Gardner Heist and all the information about art forgery was fascinating. The author wove the details into the plot very well, so it never felt as if she was trying to give a tutorial.

The main character interested me because of the choice she made. It's a fascinating question, How much should you pay for success? Claire is clearly driven by ambition, but she is also concerned about the ethics and legality of what she's been asked to do. Did she make the right decisions? I'm not sure. I think each reader will have to answer that question for himself.

The book doesn't live up to it's publicity as a thriller. It's more of a mystery, but it's enjoyable if you don't expect fast action and you're interested in the details of the art scene.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.