Alessandra's Reviews > The Art Forger's Handbook

The Art Forger's Handbook by Eric Hebborn
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This is a how-I-done-it by a notorious forger. He's very pleased with himself.

Hebborn's discussions of how to look at genuine artworks and identify their authenticity are interesting. But speaking as an artist who practices ancient techniques and an amateur historian, I don't think he's being entirely honest about what he did and how he did it when he speaks of forgery.

Also, I don't think his forgeries are nearly as convincing-looking as he seems to think. I realise these are famous last words, and that many art historians have been embarrassed by fakes. The notorious Van Meegeren forgeries of the last century are a prominent example (although to my eye those paintings looked more like children's illustrated Bibles from the 1930s than like the Vermeers they were supposed to be).

Hebborn certainly is of the opinion that he is very clever. Perhaps some of his fakes are still floating around, as he hints here and there. Or perhaps he would be tickled at the thought that people are still worried about them. This book is a useful insight into the mind of a forger, and it may have some helpful information on how forgeries are made. But take it with a grain of salt.

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