Meet Mark Landis, One of the Most Prolific Art Forgers in U.S. History

Meet Mark Landis, One of the Most Prolific Art Forgers in U.S. History forgery documentary

Meet Mark Landis, One of the Most Prolific Art Forgers in U.S. History forgery documentary

The Avante/Garde Diaries recently released these two brief clips of an interview with master art forger Mark Landis who for the last 20 years created dozens if not hundreds of convincing art forgeries including works by Picasso which he then donated to institutions around the United States including over 50 art museums. Landis would often arrive at the museums dressed as a jesuit priest with elaborate stories of how he had acquired the artworks he subsequently donated. Incredibly, after a 2007 investigation it was determined that Landis may not have actually broken any laws. He never once tried to profit from the fake artworks but instead seemed to gain enough satisfaction from fooling curatorial staff members at various institutions. While the interviews above by the Avante/Garde Diaries are not a comprehensive documentary, they are a fascinating glimpse into the world of this rather bizarre man.

Last year curators Matthew Leininger and Aaron Cowan collected some 90 forged artworks by Landis, as well as his “jesuit father” costume (donated by the forger himself) and held an exhibition called Faux Real at the Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery in Cincinnati.