Enigma by Clifford Irving delves into the fakes and forgeries of Elmyr de Hory

Over 20 years after it was originally written, Irving's book finally sees the sun

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This is an Elmyr de Hory fake of a Modigliani. It was sold 14 August by Bonham’s, accurately catalogued as such, for £3200 ($5280). It is as bad as a Van Meegheren and no one in the trade is remotely taken in nowadays. Indeed, even at the time—the Forties, Fifties and Sixties—only his imitations of Matisse pen drawings ever caused any serious problems and some of these drawings ended up in minor American museums. A book about de Hory (b.1911) is being launched this month which inevitably presents him as a perverse anti-hero of the art world, the brilliant faker who steals a march on the market and on true artistic genius. Actually, the book first appeared twenty years ago but de Hory’s collaborator, the French dealer Fernand Legros, denied that he had ever been involved and sued, so the book was withdrawn almost immediately. Enigma by Clifford Irving is published by Cawdell Douglas, London, £14.95

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Hoary old fakes'

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