The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

The Art Forger

On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today 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.Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lu...

Details The Art Forger

TitleThe Art Forger
Release DateOct 23rd, 2012
PublisherAlgonquin Books
GenreMystery, Fiction, Art, Historical, Historical Fiction, Contemporary

Reviews The Art Forger

  • 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 ...
  • Katie
    My predominant emotion while reading this book was irritation and I became much more interested in why it was irritating me so much than I was in the novel itself. I suppose principally because I thought it was going to be much more literary – a novel that creates the feeling that the characters are generating the plot rather than a novel whose plot creates the characters. I’ve just looked at other reviews of this book and nearly everyone pra...
  • Saleh MoonWalker
    Onvan : The Art Forger - Nevisande : B.A. Shapiro - ISBN : 1616201320 - ISBN13 : 9781616201326 - Dar 360 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2012
  • 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 h...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 cri...
  • Teresa
    This book is not my usual cup of tea, but the impending holidays have a way of getting me out of my usual zone (including sampling tea I wouldn’t normally drink due to an Advent tea calendar) to indulge in a fast-paced, page-turning read. What I liked most about the novel was learning of the fascinating, time-consuming (along with some shortcuts) techniques an artist of oil paintings (and a forger of them) uses: it’s not just drawing on the c...
  • 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 narrati...
  • 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 explan...
  • Jennifer
    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 he...
  • Vonia
    I loved that I recognized many of the locations mentioned here, like The Back Bay, The South End, Newbury Street, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, The Museum Of Modern Art, of course the Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum. I have actually long held a little-known fascination with the Gardner heist, primarily because of the idea that her will induces the museum board to leave empty frames in their place, even decades after the only unsolved large-scale a...
  • Sara
    I confess to being wrapped up in the reading of this book and particularly the art of art forgery Shapiro unmasks. I have often wondered why a painting that has hung for hundreds of years on museum walls and been praised for its style and beauty is not just as valuable and just as precious when it is discovered that it was not painted by one of the greats but by his apprentice. Doesn't the art remain the same. Isn't it just as valuable as art eve...
  • 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...
  • Carlos
    I loved this book, all the art references and the art processes explained here are catnip to me. I love museums and art, therefore any book mixing both its going to my criteria. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because I hated the main characther personality , (so much so that I was rooting for her to get in trouble) but I guess all is well that ends well!!! :) I am completely satisfied with this book!
  • Pamela
    It was a love/hate relationship; a mixed bag reading experience."Without light nothing can be seen. And with it, still so much is unobserved. I enjoyed the art techniques described succinctly - painting, curing, aging, framing. Quite fascinating! Time, talent, and eye-for-details. Art history, art appreciation, collector's obsessions, and the Gardner Art Museum heist were other founding plot-drivers that I found fascinating, along with literary e...
  • Jeanette
    This is the kind of mystery that would not make a good movie, but is an intirguing tale for a book. This taught me much about art- oil painting, especially, that I did not know. Next time I go to the Art Institute I sure will be looking closely at those Impressionists. LOL! Enjoyable tale filled with excellent research. The plot, to me, was rather discernable, early on.
  • 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 blur...
  • Lance Charnes
    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 t...
  • 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 pair...
  • 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 Isabel...
  • 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 b...
  • 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 we...
  • Jacob
    This is one of the few times I have been driven to read a book by sheer curiosity after reading the back text. Go on and look at it. Go on. I'll wait.Checked it out? Good, isn't it? Historical fiction based on the largest unsolved art heist in history? An artist agreeing to forge a famous painting from the original? And the original might actually *already* be a forgery? Seriously, how can I not read this book? The back text here is a great examp...
  • Colleen D
    I think she got the (main character Claire Roth) typical artist's neurotic personality down pat. A writer friend once told me that when she walks into a library anywhere in the world, the smell makes her feel instantly at home.It takes my mind a moment to catch up with my body, and I realize I'm feeling dread.If Rik were around he'd say 'I'm getting old here.'Six weeks is a long time. It's long enough to develop headaches, insomnia, digestive iss...
  • 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 o...
  • Larry H
    Part mystery, part art history lesson, part novel about rebuilding your self-confidence after it has been shattered, B.A. Shapiro's The Art Forger is a well-written, intriguing, and well-researched look at the world of art forgery.Claire Roth is a young artist whose promising career was derailed after a scandal involving a former lover and fellow artist. She now makes a living working for a website called, creating perfect copie...
  • 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 as their Degas speciali...
  • 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 cur...
  • Leslie
    3.5 starsI thought that this was a) historical fiction and b) a mystery. Both those things turned out to be true in part but essentially this was a contemporary literary fiction novel. I think my rating may reflect in part my sense of disappointment about that misconception so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and round up. However, being from the Boston area, I enjoyed all the local color and I found the information about art very in...
  • Diane
    This is a 3.5 star read for me. The beginning drug along a bit, the characters were so-so, and artwork is something I know little to nothing about. Then, the storyline picked up and I quickly became engaged in it. I really enjoyed the backstory of the painting and the letters from Belle Gardner were interesting. The author did a good job of writing about the more technical elements of painting without it being boring for non-artistic readers (lik...