Notorious Art Forger Rebrands as Genuine Faker
Ken Perenyi sold work as copies after the FBI caught on
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2012 2:50 PM CDT
Ken Perenyi spent decades as a successful forger of 18th- and 19th-century art. But today he openly sells his work as "reproductions."   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Ken Perenyi has painted some of the world's most famous artworks—only he didn't paint them first. For nearly three decades, Perenyi grew rich as a forger of 18th- and 19th-century classics, then rebranded himself as a creator of fine reproductions when the FBI began snooping around in 1998. “I realized the life I knew and loved was over,” Perenyi tells the New York Times.

His exploits allowed him to hobnob with the jet set but earned him the ire of art experts and mob enforcers—all fodder for his upcoming memoir, Caveat Emptor: the Secret Life of an American Art Forger. Now his reproductions cost as little as $5,000—far less than the $700,000 a Perenyi once sold for at auction. And he only sells to known buyers, who must sign a form confirming that each piece is mere imitation. "I miss the addictive thrill of fooling the experts," he said. "It was great sport for me."