Ken Perenyi is blabbing all over the world about his career as an art forger taking delight in having defrauded many in the past and still as his works continue to circulate. But the forger’s legitimate career as a creator of copies sheds some light on why fakes are so hard to smoke out. The buyers have a lot invested in keeping up the idea that their fakes are real. Here’s what Perenyi told the New York Times:
“I have some of his paintings mixed in with real art,” said Nancy Telese, a Palm Beach socialite and a longtime friend of Mr. Perenyi’s. She owns his versions of Heade, Picasso, Modigliani, Miró and others.
“Of course they’re much less expensive than a real painting,” Ms. Telese said. “But I thought his work was their equal. They were just so beautiful, with such detail. This is like what I see in the museums around the world.”
The “Picassos” will elicit a gasp from viewers, she said. Most people won’t ask if the works are real, but if they do, “I say they’re reproductions,” she said.
Mr. Perenyi said other clients did not want to speak with a reporter because they present his works as the real thing.
At Trinity Gallery in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Mr. Perenyi’s work is sold, the owner, Allan Abrams, said his buyers are usually “a professional older couple who all their lives wanted to own a painting by a certain artist, and this is the closest they’ll ever get.” Impressionist paintings and male nudes are the biggest sellers, said Mr. Abrams, who requires all buyers to sign a receipt attesting that they know they’re buying a reproduction.
Forgeries? Call ‘Em Faux Masterpieces (New York Times)