THE GREAT DALI ART FRAUD AND OTHER DECPTIONS by Lee Catterall

THE GREAT DALI ART FRAUD AND OTHER DECPTIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Greed more than art is the dominant theme of this overextended and overwritten but nonetheless engrossing exposÇ by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter who first broke this story of an international fine-art scam. According to Catterall, greed has pervaded the art world, and by the mid-80's it ruled art personages from Salvador Dali to shady dealers who produced and peddled so-called ``limited-edition'' graphics and sculptures, to ``art-for-investment'' buyers who viewed their ``collections'' on a par with pork-belly futures. Catterall unreels the tangled skein of his story as it stretches from the Costa Brava to Paris to Secaucus, New Jersey, to Beverly Hills to Waikiki. His overdetailing can try the reader's patience at times, but among the plethora of names, dates, locales, and inventory figures are enough startling facts to sustain interest. The author reveals, for example, that Peter Moore, a Dali ``secretary,'' estimated that by 1985 some 350,000 blank sheets of paper signed by the surrealist were in existence, ready to be imprinted with whatever images forgers decided would sell. Catterall explores the ins and outs of copyright sales; the underground network of fakes and forgeries; the pie-in-the-sky promises of self-proclaimed ``art consultants''; and experts' contradictory definitions of what constitutes an ``original'' print. Also portrayed: the half-sad, half-hilarious story of ``celebrity artists'' like Red Skelton. Far too long, but, still, a revealing cautionary tale that says much about American society in the past two decades. (Photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1992
ISBN: 0-942637-63-1
Page count: 415pp
Publisher: Barricade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992