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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Art fraudster to hold fake exhibition
John Myatt
John Myatt was sentenced to one year
A convicted forger who conned the art world for years is to stage his own exhibition of fakes.

Three years after being released from jail for his part in one of the biggest art frauds of the century John Myatt feels the time is right to exhibit his work.

His story, and high-profile court case, captured the imagination of Hollywood studio bosses, with Michael Douglas reportedly lined-up to for a lead role.

Warwick art gallery owner Alan Elkin approached Myatt to put on an exhibition of fakes which will open in September.

Myatt was convicted in 1999 of forging about 200 paintings from artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Roger Bissiere and Nicholas De Stael, many of which have never been traced.

Tate
The Tate archive was corrupted during the fraud

The fraud was so elaborate that auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's were duped into authenticating the pictures.

Myatt was sentenced to one year's imprisonment while his accomplice John Drewe, said to be the ringleader, was given six years.

Notoriety

The scam is thought to have netted more than 1.8m in profit, which was mainly pocketed by Drewe.

One suspected fake, which was said to have been described as a genuine work by British painter Ben Nicholson, reportedly sold for 105,000 in the US.

Drewe's part in the scam was to alter art archives and catalogues, including the Tate's, so that "lost works" could be "rediscovered".

Since Myatt rose to notoriety he has found that his talent for forgery is in demand and has sold several pieces for up to 2,500.

"The response we've had has been unbelievable," said Mr Elkin.

Microchip

"There are a lot of people out there who can fake pictures but what buyers want is a John Myatt fake."

Myatt said he was delighted to be having an exhibition in his own name at last as he finishes his latest work - a Raoul Dufy.

The forgeries are now implanted with a microchip so that they will not be mistaken for the real thing in the future.

He also plans to show some of his own works.

"I'm keen to bore the public with one or two of my own originals," he said.

See also:

11 Feb 99 | UK
12 Feb 99 | UK
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