ARTFUL DODGERS: FRAUD AND FOOLISHNESS IN THE ART MARKET is moving toward publication with solicitations for a full proposal with sample chapters having been received from three literary agents. That’s a very high percentage of the number to whom I sent a “query” (that’s publishing lingo) in the first round. All the books and sources of information on the process of getting a book published caution that it will be a long time before an author receives responses to his query letters, and then they’ll almost all (or all) be rejections.
Part of the process of writing the Proposal is the research into other books on the topic or similar topics. I’ve searched and searched and there simply are none. I was pretty certain of that. While I was in the research mode, a book came to my attention from several directions at once. I got it, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book, which I strongly and happily endorse as worth reading, is Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life On An American Forger by Ken Perenyi. The author, who now operates his own studio in Madeira Beach, Florida, continues to paint his own versions of paintings that might have been painted by the big-name artist in whose style it is done. In the process of learning about the development of his career as a painter of forgeries and the international sales that resulted as well as a number of other almost unbelievable characters, the reader will just have fun sharing his eccentric life.
In reference to those characters, I’ve frequently said if I was writing a novel I couldn’t make up better characters than the real ones in the art world. Some appear, of course, in Artful Dodgers.
So, does Caveat Emptor compete with Artful Dodgers ? Not at all, but it does tell a somewhat parallel story of the art market. There is some overlap in the opinions Perenyi and I share about auction houses, art dealers and all the creatures who make the art market something quite different from what you, and everyone else, believes it to be.
Get a copy of Caveat Emptor. It will help fill the agonizing wait for the book you really want to read.