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The Art Forger

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  28,594 ratings  ·  3,451 reviews
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retai
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Hardcover, 355 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Algonquin Books (first published 2012)
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Clara I thought it was an okay read. I didn't feel the intrigue, or the drama. I found the main character to be rather shallow. She makes dubious decisions…moreI thought it was an okay read. I didn't feel the intrigue, or the drama. I found the main character to be rather shallow. She makes dubious decisions and can't stand by them. it might make an intersting movie . . .(less)
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Harry
I'll make a confession right off the bat: I didn't give The Art Forger 4 stars because I was blown away by the prose, scene, setting, or characterization. Had those been up to snuff I'd have given it an easy 5. There are some flat characters, relies somewhat on stereo typical thinking about artists and their studios, it sports some letters written by someone else in stand alone chapters which jar a bit with the first person view point (one would assume our heroine would have no knowledge of thes ...more
Kathleen
Interesting read for the story, background, and information on art techniques, reproduction, and forgery, but the protagonist's lack of integrity, her utilitarian, consequentialist views, and her cognitive dissonance and rationalization concerning her actions make her completely unlikeable.
Delee
I will start by saying that my experience reading The ART FORGER was like I sat down to watch the movie Heat, and for some reason the movie Quick Change ended up in my DVD player by accident.

Okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but it was a much lighter read than I had expected...

I kept looking at THE ART FORGER on other people's "to read" list and was kind of on the fence about it. Then I was sitting down watching Anderson Cooper on CNN, and he had a segment on the Gardner Museum Heist. Even tho
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Diane
This is a novel that is based on a true crime: a $500 million art heist at the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. The story centers around artist Claire Roth, who is good at making reproductions of famous paintings. Early in the book, a dealer asks Claire to make a forgery of one of the Edgar Degas paintings that was stolen from the Gardner. Claire recognizes that she's making a deal with the devil, and part of her payment is she gets her own art show.

The novel includes chapters about Claire's ba
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Jennifer
Dec 12, 2012 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Random GR find - recommended by MBTB staff as well

Fact meets fiction meets art history lesson meets… Faustian deal? Who doesn’t like the mystery of an unsolved heist, which to date is still the largest unsolved art heist in history? Throw in the world of struggling young artists, art collectors, art dealers, museum curators, art copyists, glitz and not so much glam and… Forgers. I was interested.

Claire, an art copyist by day, is a struggling artist working to clear a black mark against her name as a pariah in the Boston art scene. When she get
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Jodi
Sorry, could not care if Claire was successful or not. I know we were supposed to be sympathetic toward her, why else for the youth prison volunteerism, but she was too untrustworthy. When I read it, it appeared as if she knew all along that she was making a forgery so that Aidan could sell it as the original but by the end of the book she had miraculously convinced herself that all she was doing was making a copy of a copy and that isn’t a crime. Of course she had her penance of never knowing i ...more
Lance Charnes
Sep 06, 2013 Lance Charnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who like to mix culture with their crime
The Art Forger is many things: a mystery, an art procedural, a historical quasi-romance, inside-the-art-world dish, and the portrait of a young artist involved in things she ought not to be. You could also consider it a caper story and not be far wrong.

Claire Roth is a Boston artist in bad odor with the art establishment, eking out a living creating reproductions of classic works for an online art mill while her own paintings languish. Her call to adventure comes in the form of a prominent galle
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Anmiryam
The best parts were the tidbits about the process of forging an old master painting. While the writing is never bad, it's bland. Lackluster prose really inhibits the narrative voice of Claire, the forger of the title, who never comes to life on the page. Her naïveté after having been burned once by a man, only to let it happen again is astonishing, yet we never understand why she seems to be so easy to dupe. On top of the her unexciting narrative tone, Shapiro includes an ongoing correspondence ...more
Carol
Reader know thyself and most of the time I do. The Art Forger has been on my list probably since the day it hit the shelves. Am I glad I finally picked it up and read it? You bet!

Mystery, intrigue, romance, history, art, there's something for everyone here. The foundation of the story is based on the 1990 theft of thirteen paintings from The Isabella Gardner Museum. Barbara Shapiro paints a tale of the who, why, what to explore a plausible explanation regarding one of the most famous art pieces
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Susan Johnson
This review is from: The Art Forger: A Novel (Hardcover)
Claire Roth is an artist that has been involved in an art work scandal and has found herself blackballed in the artistic world. She is forced into reproducing famous paintings to make a living.This career choice gives her an opportunity to salvage her reputation when she is offered the chance to copy a stolen Degas painting. The story also intertwines the story of the founding of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the place
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Jan Rice
"We can only talk about the bad forgeries, the ones that have not been detected. The good ones are still hanging on museum walls." The instructor backed this up with a New York Times estimate that 40 percent of all the artworks presented for sale in any given years are forgeries. I assumed this was completely overblown. I don't now.


There's not too much that can be said about this story without coming up against spoilers. Even the publisher's blurb says more than necessary, but, then, I often fee
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Annie
It took almost half the book to finally focus on the primary plot and that's when the story became more involving and satisfying, though I never had much connection with any of the characters (they were basically flat and predictable).

The most engaging things here were the information about art forgery and the aspects of art history that were the center of the story. I think the author did a good job of weaving together her research and her fictionalization.

I have to say -- again and again -- th
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Mary Ronan Drew
On the night of St Patrick's Day in 1990 when the attention of Boston was focused elsewhere, thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and made off with art valued at $500 million, including three Rembrandts, one of only 34 known paintings by Vermeer, and works by Manet and Degas. Because the eccentric Isabella insisted in her will that nothing be changed in the museum (nothing!), the empty frames remain on the walls as a sad reminder of what has been lost.

This story, which fascinates
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Lynda
B.A. Shapiro's The Art Forger is an exciting art mystery that kept me guessing almost to the end. Claire Roth is the main character who has been living under the shadow of false accusations and the emotional repercussions of the death of her bi-polar, married lover who just happened to be her former professor and the credited artist of a famous painting purchased by MOMA.
The tale of the lover and the painting are told in flashbacks while the current drama of Clare's life as an art "reproduction
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Audra (Unabridged Chick)
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of my all-time favorite places on the planet. It's this funky, twisty, non-traditional art museum, where pieces crowd the walls in a random mish-mosh, without placards, placed there by Isabella herself. In 1990, thirteen pieces of art were stolen from the museum in what is now the largest unsolved art heist in history. Beautifully and chillingly, the museum has the empty frames still hanging on the walls.

Shaprio's novel merges that historical fact with
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Suzanne

Crime does pay, at least in art. Most artists, visual, musical, dramatic, literary, etc. do study other artists and incorporate techniques and ideas, bits and pieces, reseen. This is how art works.

The Art Forger is not about that. It's about a painter who works for "Reproductions.com" to supplement her own art. She has a messy love life with an artist who adds his name to her work. This isn't forgery, it's robbery. Her next romance is with a collector who involves her in a conspiracy to commit f
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Mmars
Really 2.5.

When I read a book I want to come away from it feeling like I had traveled inside the characters minds or to the places in which the story took place. That did not happen here. I got the big picture of what motivated the main characters in this book to be involved as they were in the art world, the forgeries, the ownership of paintings at any cost. But I found this to be another example of the chick-litting of literature. Clare’s impulsive and damaging actions (her married ex-boyfrien
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Doreen
Mar 12, 2013 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kate and Diane
Recommended to Doreen by: Bookpages and Sara P!
I absolutely loved this book. It's a novel which incorporates the actual theft of artwork in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The author's fictional characters are believable; from the art copier/forger, right on down to the FBI agent and bar patrons. It is easy to visualize the people and the places being described.

The focus of the story is a particular Degas that was stolen in 1990, along with a dozen other valuable, high-profile paintings. This particular Degas is bei
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Ariel
This was the first book I read from the cache I purchased at the Miami International Book Fair. I wish I had a chance to read it before hearing B.A. Shapiro speak. After reading The Art Forger I am a fan. B.A. Shapiro gave a talk about her writing process with M.J. Rose, author of The book of Lost Fragrances, another novel I grabbed. I don't know if they were put on a panel together because they both go by their initials but it seemed a good pairing and their discussion was very insightful. I re ...more
P.d.r. Lindsay
I've a soft spot for stories about art and artists and hoped to enjoy this novel. I did. It was clever, the plot an original twist on so many real artist novels. Based on a real theft from a famous American Art Gallery Shapiro gives us a possible alternative history of Degas and the art theft. It is entirely believable.

Clair Roth is a young artist with a past and few sales. She makes money by working for reproductions.com as their Degas specialist, copying his paintings for wealthy buyers. She'
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JodiP
This book just pulled me in from the start! I loved the intermingling of true events and people--Degas, Isabelle Gardner, the heist at the Garnder museum--and a ficitonal story of what happens when a young artist is asked to re-create the bathers. The author used a very interesting method of deftly weaving three time periods: the present, three years ago, and the 1890s. I read it overa couple days, including over Thanksgiving day. It was a good, suspenseful read, with a very satisfying ending fo ...more
Gary  the Bookworm
Claire Roth's life isn't going well. Although she's a talented painter, she hasn't been a good judge of character in affairs of either business or romance. A few years back, she had helped her lover, a successful but blocked artist, to meet a deadline by painting what was to become a masterpiece in his name. When their relationship soured, she attempted to expose him only to find herself shunned by the art world. Forced to support herself as a painter of OTC (over the couch) reproductions, she a ...more
John
I'm going to start with a bit of a spoiler, because I just can't discuss the book without mentioning it: the "forgery" itself blows up in their faces; the more Markel said "there's layers, babe, they can't get to me ..." the more certain I became he would be wrong.

What I liked --

The Boston setting is probably the book's strongest feature.

Overall, I liked Claire. I get that it was her bad decision to let Isaac have credit for her painting that went on to critical acclaim, but when he didn't leav
...more
Jessica
This had a great plot. Interesting storyline with twists and art history thrown into the mix. I really enjoyed reading about painting techniques and the art world. However, some of the writing style didn't seem quite so polished and as Susan already mentioned in her review, I didn't care for the central relationship between Claire and Aiden. Overall though, a fun read.
Jaylia3
Based on a real life, still unsolved art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, The Art Forger manages to include more details about brush strokes and forgery techniques than I knew existed in a gripping story of artistic obsession. Claire Roth is a struggling young artist, blacklisted by the art establishment for a perceived crime against one of their darlings. She pays her bills by copying famous works of art for an above board online retailer. Then she makes a devil's bargain ...more
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. This book has it all: suspense, romance, a historical mystery, art, and the heartbreaking tale of a real-life historical art heist. Whew! I highly recommend you read this one, and it is on the Indie Bound Most Wished For List. :D

Early on March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers tied-up two guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole thirteen works of art with an estimated value of 500 million dollars. In spit
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Terri Lynn
This book is just so delicious, I wanted to crawl inside it and become a character myself.

Twenty-five years earlier, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was robbed of a number of paintings including the Degas "After the Bath".

Three years ago, artist Claire Roth allowed an older artist, once her professor and later her lover, make a fool out of her and derail her art career by claiming that a painting she did was his work. Hardly anyone would believe her and thought she wanted to ruin him bec
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Kj
This was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something more substantial and sophisticated after the massively overhyped Defending Jacob, but not so literary that it would tax my brain. This was perfect. Enough detail and substance and a good plot that kept me turning the pages, but not too much of a chore to read. Enjoyable. So yeah the characters might be a little stereotyped ("starving artist," "big shot gallery owner," etc.) but I don't know much about art and don't read much about it, s ...more
Katherine Jones
B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger–the She Reads Book Club pick of the month–calls herself a cowardly writer. “Some writers sit down and begin a novel without knowing where it will end, trusting the process to bring their story to a satisfying conclusion,” she says. “But not me. I don’t have the courage to begin a book until I know there’s an end–and a middle too. I need an outline that allows me to believe my idea might be transformed into a successful novel.” Which is to say that, even aft ...more
Gail
Claire Roth is a young artist in Boston, struggling for recognition for her art. Because of past betrayal and events, she's been dubbed "The Great Pretender" with her reputation seemingly irreperably tarnished by the event and betrayal. She makes her living painting copies for Reproductions.com and has gained a reputation as a Degas expert.

She's contacted by a powerful gallery owner, Aiden Markel to make a copy of a Degas, one that she realizes is part of an infamous unsolved art theft. As she
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.46 - The Art Forger 6 29 Dec 12, 2014 06:11AM  
Hamburg Book Club: November Meeting 6 8 Nov 18, 2014 09:54AM  
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  • Leaving Van Gogh
  • Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
  • The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
  • The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece
  • The Cutting Season
  • The Stockholm Octavo
  • I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger
  • Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
  • The Gardner Heist
  • Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
  • The Other Typist
  • Rembrandt, 1606-1669: The Mystery of the Revealed Form
  • Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
  • Cascade
  • The Forgery of Venus
  • The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
  • American Ghost
  • The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
7276618

AKA Barbara A. Shapiro or Barbara Shapiro

I am the author of six novels (The Art Forger, The Safe Room, Blind Spot, See No Evil, Blameless and Shattered Echoes), four screenplays (Blind Spot, The Lost Coven, Borderline and Shattered Echoes) and the non-fiction book, The Big Squeeze. In my previous career incarnations, I have directed research projects for a residential substance abuse facility, wor
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More about B.A. Shapiro...
Blind Spot The Safe Room Blameless See No Evil Shattered Echoes

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“So many good uses for ill-begotten gains” 7 likes
“Nothing like the smell of an artist at work.” 4 likes
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