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Genuine Fake Artist - John Myatt

"He tipped cups of black coffee on the works to make them look old"

In the Mid-Eighties, Englishman John Myatt was a struggling artist trying to raise two children on his own. His wife had left him and he was earning a living from part-time art-teaching. He was broke and battling to make ends meet.

All that changed when a stranger claiming to be a physics professor commissioned him to knock out some fake old masters to supposedly impress his girlfriend. For the next eight years (88-94) John Myatt painted another 200-odd "Old Masters" and "Impressionist" paintings which he then sold on to the dealer/professor to earn himself £90,000 and eventually four months in the nick after Scotland Yard came a-knocking in 1995.

The dealer, who was eventually jailed for four years, made £1.5 million out of the scam by faking the provenances of the paintings and selling them at the prestigious Sothebys and Christies art auction houses. Many of these fakes have never been recovered. It is claimed to be "The biggest art fraud of the 20th century".

John Myatt is still painting fakes. Presumedly using his trade-mark mixture of household emulsion paint mixed with KY jelly. But this time he's openly declaring them as such and hawking them on his website for between $875 to $8000 - johnmyatt.com

But the last laugh may yet be on Myatt - someone is knocking out fakes of his fakes. Hilarious.

From a story running in The New York Times

Reader Comments (1)

hello john have u painted any flower vases lately have you still got 2 cars 2 kidz pete debbie ollie e mail addy is ochenwu@hotmail.com
chen... dragon wu ....horse
chenwu dragon horse o dragon horse phoenix ollie get in touch if u recieve if uncensored do u still live in sugnall with gloucesters ??
October 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteronly one ollie ochenwu

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