How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo

About the Book

Filled with extraordinary characters and told at breakneck speed, Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller, but this is most certainly not fiction. It is the astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to New York, investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the tale of infamous con man and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt. Together they exploited the archives of British art institutions to legitimize the hundreds of pieces they forged, many of which are still considered genuine and hang in prominent museums and private collections today.

About the Authors

Laney Salisbury

Laney Salisbury is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and has worked for Reuters and the Associated Press. She is the coauthor of the critically acclaimed The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic, which was translated into eleven languages.

Aly Sujo

Aly Sujo grew up in the art world and was a journalist over twenty years, covering arts and entertainment for Reuters, the Associated Press, and The New York Daily News. Aly passed away in 2008 after completing the manuscript for Provenance.

Related Events

How Does a Work of Art End Up in a Museum?

Thursday, June 29, 2017, 7:00 pm
Grand Rapids Art Museum – 101 Monroe Center
(Free Parking at the Main Library, a short walk to the GRAM)

Each of the 5,000+ objects in the collection of the Grand Rapids Art Museum has a unique history, or provenance. Some works, which were purchased directly from a living artist, have a rather short history, whereas others have taken long and circuitous routes into GRAM’s collection. Registrar Julie Conklin and Curatorial Assistant Jennifer Wcisel will share photos, stories, and documents from the museum archives that bring to life the journeys of these objects. Discover what the back of paintings reveal about their past, hear about the curious case of the Ming Dynasty bowl with its own passport, and get a peek at the rarely seen world of provenance research.

Painting and Pinot: Forge a Fake

Monday, August 7, 2017, 6:30 pm
Monday, August 21, 2017, 6:30 pm
San Chez Bistro – 38 Fulton St W
(Free parking at the Main Library, a short walk to San Chez)

Have you ever looked at a painting in a museum and thought, “I could do that”? Now is your chance to create a modern masterpiece of your own. Sip wine and paint while a local artist leads a demonstration to help you create a copy of a famous painting (for your personal use only of course). Food and beverages will be available for purchase. This event is for ages 21 and up and seating is first come, first served.