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The world of Tony Tetro, the world of art forgery. This is his memoir of a long career of the escapades and chicanery that was his life. But it also is a story about what goes on behind the scenes and the players and characters that come and go along the way.

No doubt the man had talent but his upbringing and the era he emerged led to the misuse of the talent. His amazing rise to the upper stratas of the art world are intriguing and full of daring and fool hardy dealings. The money is staggering as well as how he squandered it on his passions and excesses. Ultimately bringing his downfall.

Yet in paying his dues only to be recycled into a somewhat more legitimate path we see he still is at his trade. And regardless of what we may think of his character he certainly was able to live an adventure of sorts that most would not come close to.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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knightlight777 | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 15, 2023 |
Working-class kid from a small New York state mill-and-factory town with an eye for art lights out for California to seek his fortune. And boy, does he find it - for a couple of decades. Tony Tetro had a gift for drawing copies of pictures: he could make copies so precise his brother accused him of tracing them… until Tony pointed out his own version was bigger than the original. Settled in a cheap apartment in southern California, working as a furniture salesman to support his teenaged wife and baby daughter, Tony haunts museums, and practices making perfect copies of Rembrandt, Monet, and Picasso. He truly reveres Caravaggio. He cold-calls on galleries in swankier parts of town with them (signed as Tetros), and gets nowhere. Then, inspired by a chance discovery of Clifford Irving’s bestseller Fake! on a grocery store rack, he painstakingly creates a fake Chagall drawing, signing it with the name of Irving’s master forger, Elmyr de Hory. With a story of a dead grandfather, he offers it to a dealer, who smiles knowingly and writes him a check, asking if his grandfather might have anything else in store. Tony hawks a fake Modigliani to another dealer, who falls for it… at first. When the dealer finds out he’s been had, he comes back with an offer: “You’re gonna work for me now.” He shows him a couple of kitschy landscapes that could be found hanging on every late 60’s motel in America and says, “Think you could do some of these?” He can. He does. He’s on his way.

He churns out Chagalls, Dalis, whatever the market will bear. The prices go up. He’s got all the work he can do. The money rolls in. He has all kinds of friends and connections. All-night parties at swank restaurants? Check. Gallons of booze; bushels of cocaine? Check. Breathtakingly expensive Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis? Check. (Did you know you could actually forge a Ferrari? Tony Tetro does, and he did it.) A long string of women lining up at the bar? Check.

What’s amazing is how easy it all was, to hear Tony tell it. When he needed a pro to help him solve a technical printing issue, he calls a local printer out of the phone book and presto! He has two willing experts who help him fake hundreds of images, up to and almost over the brink into some serious currency counterfeiting. Need a builder for a secret room in your condo to paint your forgeries and store all the fake documents in? A few phone calls and he has one - who also helps him empty and strip the room after a police search failed to find it…. If you had any doubts about how utterly corrupt, greedy, dishonest, and self-serving the art market is, this book will erase them. And Tony Tetro benefited from, nay, enjoyed every minute of it. He doesn’t sound the least bit sorry. And it wasn’t all easy - he loved doing the paintings, but says the really hard part was fabricating the provenance and documentation necessary to convince a dealer, a curator, or a customer about authenticity. His research is serious and detailed in developing the plausible, corroborated stories needed (with a little help from faked certificates, forged signatures, even art books with illustrations sliced out and replaced with his versions).

Till - of course - it all falls apart. One stupid mistake by one dealer spreads in the media to wash up against others; a second stupid mistake by Tony’s dealer sinks him. The tale becomes one of downfall, confession, and reformation. Broke, gutted, he spends 9 months painting traffic safety posters for LA County, and teaches city kids how to paint murals. Under minimal security, he genuinely liked the kids - coulda been worse. After all, when he says he barely had enough to eat, he just sold off that $3000 watch sitting in a drawer. And now he’s gone straight. Now he jets around the globe painting “legitimate” copies for obscenely wealthy and egregiously creepy billionaires, appears on “Fake or Genuine?” TV shows, and vacations in Costa Rica at will. Plus he's famous (though he regrets all the dough he lost on that forged Ferrari). His website is replete with side-by-side pictures of his versions of famous original works (and a LOT of comments like: “Hey! Tony! Remember me? We used to hang out at [insert bar here]!”) He gets paid to do what he truly does love to do - paint. So, see, it all kind of turned out okay.

An odd and roistering mixture of honesty and self-serving, and a really ugly look at the world of art dealing. Even high priests of top-flight art historical study and major museums are not immune - not that they ever were. Fascinating in a queasy way. But definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in art, art history, and a curiosity as to how the fakers do their tricks.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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JulieStielstra | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 28, 2022 |
This was incredibly interesting! I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but every once in a while I come across a book that calls to me and I feel compelled to pick it up. I have no idea why I was drawn to this book since I don’t really pay attention to art but I am so glad that I decided to give it a try. I was captivated by Tony Tetro’s story and didn’t want to stop reading once I started.

If you had asked me what an art forger does before picking up this book, my answer would have been very different than it is now that I have read it. It is not just the process of copying art. I learned that provenance is even more important than the actual art being made. Mr. Tetro went to a lot of work establishing provenance for his pieces which is one reason he was so successful. It was very eye-opening to learn what went into making a piece look older than it really was. I was surprised that I was able to relate to Mr. Tetro because I too tend to almost obsess over problems until I figure out a solution. I guess it is a good thing that the things I am usually trying to figure out are much tamer than those Mr. Tetro dealt with.

I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narration was very well done. Richard Ferrone handled the bulk of the narration and I thought that he helped bring the book to life. I really felt like I was right there listening to Mr. Tetro tell me exactly how he did what he did for so many years. I thought that the narrators had very pleasant voices which added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very interesting and sometimes thought-provoking look at a crime that I never really considered before. There were a few times in the book when I felt like the author’s point of view was somewhat biased. I will definitely look at art a little differently after reading this book.

I received a review copy of this book from Hachette Books and purchased a copy of the audiobook.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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Carolesrandomlife | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 7, 2022 |
Con/Artist, by Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi, is an eye-opening wild ride through the art world from the perspective of a painter who made a living creating fraudulent copies.

As much as I enjoy art, I know nothing of the art world, especially the high price art world. So this was not only an intriguing tale of forgery on a large scale but also a look into a world I'll never know. The book succeeds on both counts.

A fascinating life and career, it coupled a criminal mindset with a phenomenal knowledge of art, art history, and the materials of creating art. When most of us hear about a crime such as forgery we often wonder about how and why the person chose that path rather than a different one. In any crime we wonder what the person is like. This book lets us into just such a mind and life, and answers many of our questions.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about white collar crime, especially anyone with any knowledge of the art world. But that specialized knowledge isn't necessary to enjoy the book.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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pomo58 | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 14, 2022 |

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Associated Authors

Giampiero Ambrosi Author, Narrator

Tilastot

Teokset
2
Jäseniä
80
Suosituimmuussija
#224,854
Arvio (tähdet)
½ 3.7
Kirja-arvosteluja
5
ISBN:t
2

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