Saturday, November 20, 2010

Serial Forger in the News

Several media outlets reported this week on a serial forger who has donated works of art and other materials to museums and libraries around the country for at least two decades. The man sometimes poses as a Jesuit priest, "Father Arthur Scott," but also is known by various other names (Mark Landis, Steven Gardiner) and identities.

Matthew Leininger, director of museum services at the Cincinnati Museum of Art, has pulled together an extensive dossier on the forger, including the names of more than 30 institutions targeted. Interestingly, because Landis/Scott/Gardiner does not request payment and never returns tax deduction forms, it does not appear (at least as things stand at the moment) that any laws have been broken.

It's a pretty fascinating story, and one that actually hits close to home, as I've actually held one of this fellow's productions in my hands (not a painting, but a letter, which was immediately obvious as "not kosher"). More about that someday, I hope ...

In any event, it'll be very interesting to see what happens here, but in the meantime, if you're at a museum or research library and encounter this guy (or have donations from him in your collections), you may want to check them out pretty carefully.

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