The New York Times’s Randy Kennedy expands upon Helen Stollas’s story in The Art Newspaper about Mark Landis who has been depositing forged works with museums around the country for what seems like 20 years. No one seems to be able to figure out if he’s broken any laws:
Unlike most forgers, he does not seem to be in it for the money, but for a kind of satisfaction at seeing his works accepted as authentic. He takes nothing more in return for them than an occasional lunch or a few tchotchkes from the gift shop. He turns down tax write-off forms, and it’s unclear whether he has broken any laws. But his activities have nonetheless cost museums, which have had to pay for analysis of the works, for research to figure out if more of his fakes are hiding in their collections and for legal advice. (The Hilliard said it discovered the forgery within hours, using a microscope to find a printed template beneath the paint.)
In the weeks since an article in The Art Newspaper first revealed the scope of the forgeries, museums and their lawyers have been trying to locate Mr. Landis, who was never easy to find in the first place because he often provided bogus addresses and phone numbers. But now he seems to have disappeared altogether. His last known attempt to pass off a forgery occurred in mid-November, when he presented himself, again as Father Arthur Scott, at the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, bearing a French Academic drawing.
Elusive Forger, Giving But Never Stealing (New York Times)
“Jesuit Priest” Donares Fraudulent Works (The Art Newspaper)