The Art Forger: A Novel

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum--still the largest unsolved art theft in history--one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece--the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years--may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing--and not seeing--the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

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384 pages

Average rating: 7.3




Community Reviews

Apr 26, 2024
6/10 stars
Years ago there was an art theft that was never solved. Present day Claire Roth was offered an art show if she forged one of the paintings stolen. She had been shunned in the art world due to a past scandal and did not see any other way for her to get her art into the world.

The story is told from three time periods, 100 years ago, three years ago and present day. I was not wild about the story told from three years ago. I do realize it was necessary for us to understand where Claire was coming from, but from the beginning you can see that Isaac is a jerk and that it will end badly.

I liked Belle's story and thought it could have been longer. I liked how she was almost eager to to defy convention, it seemed to spite anyone who would dare to disapprove. When push came to shove she did not want anyone else to see just how far she was willing to go.

I did find the process of forging the painting and everything that went along with it interesting. I also liked when Claire worked on her own paintings. The rest of the book, when the mystery became prevalent, Claire seemed to be naive and as if she was grasping at straws. At one point I found myself speed reading to get past her fumbling. I keep thinking wow in her personal life she can be somewhat stupid.
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Oct 16, 2023
6/10 stars
I would probably give this book 3.5 stars due to the art education I gleaned! As an art lover, I found this book rather intriguing. I liked learning more about the techniques in copying old masterpieces - such as baking a canvas in between each applied layer of paint, or painting varnish on top to age or yellow the painting, etc. Now I'm still not inclined to change hobbies or careers since I don't have ANY artistic abilities when it comes to painting itself (HA!), and I highly doubt I would be of any use in discovering a forgery either, but I still enjoyed discovering tricks of the trade and the history of art forgeries within these pages. I found it rather compelling.

Now the plot and romance that developed in the story was predictable and less brilliant than the "nerdy" art details that I found so fascinating, but overall, it was an enjoyable read.
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Jun 03, 2023
8/10 stars
I read this for book club and while at times it was a bit tedious describing various art processes, and other times a bit sophomoric going into the protagonist's love life, in the ends it is the overlapping story arcs and delightful twists that led me to this book's 4-star review.
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Jun 14, 2022
6/10 stars
RS gave 3 stars
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Apr 03, 2022
Could not put it down until the end.
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