Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

  • by Ken Perenyi
  • Narrated by Dan Butler
  • 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The true story of America's greatest art forger!
Ten years ago, an FBI investigation was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have been front-page news in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents to art dealers, renowned experts, and the major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite an abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure”.
Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, this audiobook, Caveat Emptor, is that artist, Ken Perenyi’s, confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off. Unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing the experts in mere seconds.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Forgery to Story Telling

In the last paragraph of the book, the author, a self professed forger and con-man, states that pressure from the FBI has persuaded him to give up forgery and that he is looking forward to his next 'project'. I think he found it in writing the book and that is was not a far leap from his previous 'profession'. Multiple accounts of cranking out huge numbers of forgeries from different artist with different styles in relatively short periods of time (weeks) and doing it with such quality so as to fool multiple experts, were simply hard to fathom in the realm of reality. Add to these his accounts of multiple relationships with elite dealers and rich collectors who befriended him from the first encounter and you have a fairly well written (and well performed) story that is extremely interesting but leaves you wondering if the classification of non-fiction was a mistake. But the aspect of the book that left me scratching my head the most was the author's pride in the quality of the painting while referring to them as 'pictures'. I don't know a lot of artist and I am not an art collector, but aren't pictures- photos? Had I bought one of his forgeries I would have at least had something to cover the wall. With the purchase of the book, I just feel duped. The 2 stars for the story helps me feel a little better.
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- Tina M.

Too good to be true...? yeah, but so what?

This was a great story and a good performance. It was worth the price even if (perhaps?) it was fiction or partially so. About half way through I started to doubt the authenticity of Ken's friends and experiences. How could one person from such a humble background so quickly and miraculously transform himself into a world class art forger in so many genres. How could such an average guy be befriended by so many extraordinary characters? How could such a guy be serially surrounded by world class women and models? Then I thought, so what... just enjoy the ride. So I relaxed and did just that and I think you will too.
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- Mr. "Jonnie"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-01-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.