Profiling Art Forgers

  • Noah Charney


Unlike art thieves, who do not fit a specific criminal profile, art forgers largely do. The vast majority of those who have been found out adhere to a very narrow description, particularly when it comes to their origin story and initial motivation to turn to forgery. This chapter describes this profile, drawing on numerous historical examples of famous forgers to show the remarkable consistency in their biographies. It further describes how a focus on regular forensic testing of objects on the art market would be the best way to curb forgery, since almost no known forgers have bothered to create fraudulent artworks that would fool forensic tests. The fact that the art trade tends to over-rely on connoisseurship and provenance gives the advantage to the forgers, who need to pass off a good story and a reasonably good-looking work of art but one which does not need to do the “heavy lifting” of standing up to scientific tests.


Art forgeries Fakes Art fraud Historical development of art fraud 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noah Charney
    • 1
  1. 1.Association for Research into Crimes against ArtAmeliaItaly

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