100 books like The Art Forger

By B.A. Shapiro,

Here are 100 books that The Art Forger fans have personally recommended if you like The Art Forger. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Girl with a Pearl Earring

Rebecca D'Harlingue Author Of The Map Colorist

From my list on 17th-century women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find the seventeenth century fascinating, and both of my novels are set in that period. The century was a time of great flux, and I am especially interested in exploring the kinds of things that women might have done, even though their accomplishments weren’t recorded. There is a wonderful article by novelist Rachel Kadish called “Writing the Lives of Forgotten Women,” in which she refers to Hilary Mantel’s comments that people whose lives are not recorded fall through the sieve of history. Kadish says that, “Lives have run through the sieve, but we can catch them with our hands.” These novels all attempt to do that.

Rebecca's book list on 17th-century women

Rebecca D'Harlingue Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was a phenomenon when it came out, and with good reason.

Chevalier’s words paint a picture of the life of a young girl, Griet, who is working in the house of the artist, Johannes Vermeer in 1660s Delft. In the novel, Griet is the model for the famous painting. The relationship between artist and model, and what they do, and don’t, mean to each other, is complex and intriguing.

The way that Chevalier depicts the restrained interactions between the two seems to mimic Vermeer’s restrained yet visually detailed style.

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…


Book cover of The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and Da Vinci's Italy

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

When it comes to female heroism and the ultimate sacrifice to save not only lives but those cultural icons that herold times past, I have to say Laura Morelli’s The Night Portrait is top of my list.

Morelli successfully blends two timelines 500 years apart. A 16-year-old girl is mistress to the Duke of Millan and poses for Leonardo da Vinci, in hopes of securing her future.

Five hundred years later, as World War 2 breaks out, another young woman is charged with securing her future by agreeing to see da Vinci’s painting, now in the hands of a Nazi war criminal, is successfully transferred to an American soldier working with the Monuments Men. Security. War. Death. Destruction. Morelli has written it all.

Whether it was 500 years ago or today, Morelli has penned a novel of man’s basic need for peace and security in order to thrive, and of…

By Laura Morelli,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Night Portrait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Historical fiction at its best' Reader review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz meets Girl with a Pearl Earring in this gripping, dual-timeline historical novel about one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous paintings and the woman who fought to save it from the Nazis.

'Simply a masterpiece... Fans of Kristin Hannah's Nightingale and Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See will delight in this epic novel' Lori Nelson Spielman

Between 1939 and 1943, the Nazis attempted to steal every known painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, imprisoning the original owners or worse. This is the story of the most infamous of…


Book cover of Titian's Boatman

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

This complex novel is akin to going on a highly enjoyable journey through gorgeous settings and two distinct periods of time. A multitude of seemingly unrelated stories set in London, Venice, and New York City, slowly intertwine and merge throughout the novel. Revenge drives one character, the desire to reach a higher social standing another, fame and perhaps wealth motivates a third, and memories of better times keep a fourth going. Yet all of their stories are connected via a single painting, Titian’s Man With the Blue Sleeve. To find out how and why, you’ll have to read this captivating novel. 

By Victoria Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titian's Boatman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is 1576 and Venice is in chaos, ravaged by plague and overrun by crime. In the midst of the anarchy we find those brave souls who have chosen not to flee the city. Titian, most celebrated of Venetian painters, his health failing badly. Sebastiano, a gondolier who is the eyes and ears of the corrupted and crumbling city. And Tullia, the most notorious courtesan of the age, who must fight to retain her status as well as her worldly possessions. In the present day, the echoes of what happened centuries earlier still ripple as the lives of ordinary people…


Book cover of The Art Whisperer

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

Alix London is the spunky lead character in Charlotte Elkins’ four-novel-long series of art mysteries. Alix is an art restorer with a sordid past, who is helping a rich Seattle businesswoman build up an art collection. The Art Whisperer is a fantastic story about forgeries, restoration, museum politics, and murder. Elkins is able to describe the art world in such a way that even those not interested in art history would enjoy this book and series. 

By Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art Whisperer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she's understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur's eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs's Brethwaite Museum-her current employer.

Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. Now the Brethwaite's despicable senior curator, obsessed with the "maximization of monetized eyeballs," angrily refuses to decommission the celebrated Pollock piece. But it's only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth-with whom Alix had inadvertently,…


Book cover of Old Scores

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

No list about mysteries involving missing art can exclude Aaron Elkins! He is the author of several art history mystery novels revolving around a museum professional searching for artwork lost during World War II. Old Scores is no exception. This borderline cozy mystery novel is a clever art history mystery about forgeries, the worth and perception of art, and what some will do to 'make it' in the art world. 

By Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Old Scores as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A notorious French art dealer is murdered in this "thoroughly entertaining" mystery by the Edgar Award-winning author of the Gideon Oliver series (Kirkus Reviews).

It is a headline-making story: the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt. Rene Vachey, the iconoclastic art dealer who claims to have uncovered it, wants to make a gift of it to the Seattle Art Museum, but curator Chris Norgren is wary. Vachey is notorious in art circles for perpetrating scandalous shams; not for profit but for the sheer fun of embarrassing the elite and snobbish "experts" of the art establishment. And thanks to the web…


Book cover of The Flanders Panel

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

An art mystery, a murder mystery. What more could you ask for?

In Madrid, a noted art restorer Julia has received a painting that is itself an intriguing mystery. A fifteenth-century Flemish painting of a Knight and a Duke playing chess. Julia finds hidden under the paint the inscription Who Killed the Knight? That is a secret that was not meant to be revealed. This book is pre-internet so research is leg work. A cast of devious and delightful characters help and hinder Julia's quest to find the answers she seeks and try to avoid becoming a victim of her curiosity. I love the descriptions of art restoration, the ambiance, and the night owl lifestyle of the characters. 

By Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Jull Costa (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flanders Panel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The clue to a murder in the art world of contemporary Madrid lies hidden in a medieval painting of a game of chess.

In a 15th-century Flemish painting two noblemen are pictured playing chess. Yet two years before he could sit for the portrait, one of them was murdered. In 20th-century Madrid, Julia, a picture restorer preparing the painting for auction, uncovers a hidden inscription in Latin that points to the crime: Quis necavit equitem? Who killed the knight? But as she teams up with a brilliant chess theoretician to retrace the moves, she discovers the deadly game is not…


Book cover of As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

As Peter Bruegel stands in the Sistine Chapel admiring Michelangelo’s work he realizes he could never compete with one who works in the heavens – above. He will confine himself to the below the common man. We follow Bruegel and his friends on his journeys, his daily life, and the inspiration he finds in the everyday world around him. His peasants are peasants. Their daily toil is not romanticized. Their feasts consist of rural fare.  Even his religious art is not idealized. It is wonderful to imagine that the author has walked in Bruegel's shoes. Rudy Rucker is a professor of math and computer science but his extensive research has brought to life an artist who left very little of his own life to history.  

By Rudy Rucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Above, So Below as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Bruegel's paintings - a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others - have long defined our idea of everyday life in 16th Century Europe. In sixteen chapters Rucker brings Bruegel's painter's progress and his colourful world to vibrant life doing for Bruegel what GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING did for Vermeer. We follow the artist from the winding streets of Antwerp and Brussels to the glowing skies and decaying monuments of Rome.


Book cover of Beauty in Thorns

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

After the Impressionists and Vincent Van Gogh, the artists that come easily in third place for fictional ink spilled about them are the Pre-Raphaelites. Their personal lives are as colorful as their artwork. Australian Kate Forsyth has tackled the second phase of Pre-Raphaelitism led by Edward Burne-Jones's mythological and Arthurian paintings and William Morris's designs for furniture, wallpaper, and book art. The love lives of the artists, wives, models, and daughters find their way interwoven in the story of the art. Gabriel Rossetti, who was a major figure of the first phase of Pre-Raphaeltisim, is the flint that ignites the second phase. They all want to live in the dreams of the past, and of legends, but real life is never a fairy tale.

By Kate Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beauty in Thorns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the wild bohemian circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists and poets.

The Pre-Raphaelites were determined to liberate art and love from the shackles of convention.

Ned Burne-Jones had never had a painting lesson and his family wanted him to be a parson. Only young Georgie Macdonald – the daughter of a Methodist minister – understood. She put aside her own dreams to support him, only to be confronted by many years of gossip and scandal.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was smitten with his favourite model, Lizzie Siddal. She wanted to be an artist herself, but…


Book cover of Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

Noah Charney Author Of The Devil in the Gallery: How Scandal, Shock, and Rivalry Shaped the Art World

From my list on art crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in 2006, a New York Times Magazine feature article about me announced that I had essentially founded the field of the study of art crime, while still a postgraduate student. I’m often mentioned as the world’s leading authority on the history of art crime and I’ve been a professor teaching the subject for more than a decade (I’m not actually that old). I also founded ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, the world’s first think tank and research group on art crime. We launched the first academic journal on the subject, The Journal of Art Crime, as well as the first academic study program, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, which runs every summer in Italy. I’m also the author of more than a dozen books, many best-sellers, and one a Pulitzer finalist. I write on art crime for TED Ed videos, I host TV programs on the subject, and I recently curated a virtual exhibit of lost art called Missing Masterpieces.

Noah's book list on art crime

Noah Charney Why did Noah love this book?

This book is part philosophy, part on art and forgery. Most approaches, my own included, to art forgery are art historical and criminological. This one is readable and thoughtful and fun but focuses on the big ideas behind the scenes.

By Thierry Lenain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art Forgery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The obsession with art forgery appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In Art Forgery, the author's aim is not to suggest new methods of detection, but rather to look at the genealogy of faking and to interrogate the anxious, sometimes neurotic, reactions triggered in the modern world of art by these clever frauds. Thierry Lenain considers the idea of authenticity in the Middle Ages, when the issue of false relics and miracles often arose: if a relic gave rise to a cult, it would be considered as genuine even if it had evidently been 'forged'. Similarly, the seventeenth and…


Book cover of Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Art Forger

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Tony Tetro is one of the most successful art forgers in history and a character straight out of a movie, with a devil-may-care attitude towards his fast life among the rich, famous, and fraudulent.

His talents have fooled expert appraisers and wealthy collectors for years, including Prince (now King) Charles, who acquired paintings by Tetro thinking they were authentic works of art by Picasso, Dali, Monet, and Chagall. There are likely hundreds of his forged paintings currently hanging in museums and galleries—or displayed in private collections—authenticated as originals.

Read about his secret stash room hidden behind a mirror, his reckless disregard for consequences, and his jaundiced view of the victims of his many cons, and you’ll swear you’re reading a novel versus nonfiction. 

The key to writing a novel is to make the characters as real as possible, with all the many contradictions we find in ourselves, in order to…

By Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Con/Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's most renowned art forger reveals the secrets behind his decades of painting like the Masters-exposing an art world that is far more corrupt than we ever knew while providing an art history lesson wrapped in sex, drugs, and Caravaggio.The art world is a much dirtier, nastier business than you might expect. Tony Tetro, one of the most renowned art forgers in history, will make you question every masterpiece you've ever seen in a museum, gallery, or private collection. Tetro's "Rembrandts," "Caravaggios," "Miros," and hundreds of other works now hang on walls around the globe. In 2019, it was…


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