FAKE BY JOHN MYATT at Castle Fine Art, 24 Bruton Street, London W1, until 10th August
I think that the King in The King and I might also find this “a puzzlement” as John Myatt was sentenced for one year in prison for his part in a conspiracy to defraud the art world. He served four months of his sentence and turned legitimate.
He says: “I know that I’ll always be known as the art forger who duped the experts but while that period of my life is definitely over, it set me on a path I never knew would be possible.”
The fruits of his labours can be seen in this show which includes not only works that mimic the style of masters old and new but also includes his own originals. Judging by the red dots on the opening night this could be a format that like The King and I will have a long run.
As Ian Weatherby-Blythe, managing director of Castle Fine Art, said: “John’s exciting works challenge the art world because they dare to blur the edges between real and fake.”
All images are copyright
Whatever you may think of forgeries, John Myatt is a very accomplished artist whether creating a pastiche or an original, and selective buyers are drawn to quality in its own right. Many forgers take pleasure in fooling the ‘Artistic Establishment’ who they see as elitist and arrogant. I suspect that I would not be alone in expressing some sympathy with that..
Fakes are just that. Whether clever copies or not! It’s done in fashion, in furniture, in architecture. What does it say? It says that the original is genius and worth everything and that the fake, if allowed to exist, should be labelled as that and sold for very little, exhibited,traded for little!
The scary thing is that being convicted of fraud may be seen as a way of being noticed. This has happened over and over again in the history of art crime. A marketing ploy? Sorry, I’m feeling cynical.