Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her Venetian-style gallery — then called Fenway Court — to the city of Boston, enriching the lives of generations to come. It is now just called the Gardner Museum.
In March 1990, two men dressed as police officers looted 13 masterpieces from museum, including Rembrandt’s only recorded seascape, Vermeer’s “Concert”, and several lesser sketches by Degas. B. A. Shapiro’s nimble mystery The Art Forger revisits this unsolved theft when, two decades later, one of Gardner’s paintings seems to resurface.
This is the story of struggling Boston painter,Claire Roth, who pays her bills by painting copies of famous pieces of art for a popular online retailer. Her specialty is impressionist works, specifically Degas. She is talked into helping an art dealer by painting a copy of a famous Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardener museum as a trade for a one woman show in Markels' prestigious art gallery. The copy, unfortunately, turns into a forgery when the dealer, Aiden Markel tries to sell it as an original so that he can keep the Degas for himself, and they both end up in jail . The Art Forger has some real history woven with some fiction and I find the way Claire aged the new works so well that they passed the test to prove they are original masterpieces very interesting.
I enjoyed The Art Forger, and found the reader excellent. It is a quick read and I found I didn't want to stop listening at times when I had to.