Do you need a Rembrandt?

Anyone who consider to enter the field of art forgeries, the book “The Fake’s Progress”, written by Geraldine Norman and Frank Norman in 1977 can be warmly recommended. Tom Keating (1917–84) generously shares his 25 years of experience. Do you need a Rembrandt? No problem! Here is what to do:
Get yourself a piece of paper from the midst 1600’th, boil a couple of chestnuts on an old pan, grab a feather or two from a stone dead gull, but remember to keep a can of Nescafé in your kitchen. Then you must count a quarter of an hour of your spare time to do the rest and a bit more to let it dry on your radiator. If you have none ask your neighbour! But then your masterpiece is ready to pass it's test.


Keating, once yelled out for being the greatest art swindler in his own century, could deliver almost any style one could possibly ask for, such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Gainsborough, Constable, Degas, Manet and many more. Mr. Keating’s carrier started with Samuel Palmer forgeries. But Keating never was prosecuted for anything, as to the fact that he was able to convince the authorities that he had not signed the paintings himself or for that matter signed them with other names, but instead he had from the very beginning claimed them as being falsifications, copies if you like.


In several TV interviews Keating has educated the listeners, the public how to paint van Gogh and other great names. These statements are caught on videotape.


In December 1983, 137 of his falsifications brought in £80.000. Sold a piece at a time, the highest hammers stroke from 1998 the work “Odalisque, in the manner of Matisse,” which went up reaching £6.700. A self-portrait was sold for £ 5.000, and in April 1999 “Two Horse Sleighs in Winter Landscape, after Cornelius Krieshoff” brought in £6.600. It is a small painting the size of which is only 24 by 41 cm.


Tom Keating was an expert in “Degas”. Here you can see one of the many
 Degas-forgeries, which the market is now swarmed by.
Is this a genuine Tom Keating? One of his “ballet girls” obtained the amount of £ 4.000 on an auction.

© Preben Juul Madsen