Feature Forgers

Find out more about famous forgers.


More from Elyse about famous forgers.

Danton may have died in 1939, but his forgeries keep appearing. In 2002, Washington College unmasked another portrait of the father of our country, long attributed to Rembrandt Peale, as a fake, and Danton was the prime suspect.

Forgers have been around for years, but where did it all start? Some say it started with the Romans. Merchants used to fake Greek sculptures to meet a rising demand for fine art.

But the counterfeit game took off in the 20th century when fine art started to command big money.

Belgian Hans van Meegeran is one of the best-known forgers in the last 100 years. His fake Vermeers fooled many experts, who hailed them as some of the painter's greatest work. He was arrested in 1945 and confessed to his crimes. Detailed chemical and physical tests went on to prove that the materials van Meegeran used for his paintings were modern. He ended his career in bankruptcy.

In the '50s, Tom Keating took forgery to a whole 'nother level. He faked over 2,000 different paintings for more than 100 different artists. In 1976, he confessed. But confession had its rewards. He ended up hosting a television series about artistic techniques.

Then there's our master forger, John Myatt. He and his partner pulled off the biggest contemporary art fraud ever in the U.K. Then one morning, Scotland Yard came knocking. Game over.

While the forgers may end up behind bars, their fakes are still out there. If you do end up with a masterpiece, watch out. It may not be what you think it is