Forger never takes money, only wants to see his works hanging in galleries

The NYT has the bizarre story of American art forger Mark A Landis, who creates convincing art forgeries and then donates them to galleries, refusing all compensation. Seemingly, he does it for the thrill of seeing his work hung as an original, alongside the real deal. Landis occasionally impersonates a priest named Father Scott or an art collector named Steven Gardiner, and when he makes his donations, he accompanies them with a story about honoring fictional dead relatives, his family's collection and hints about future cash donations.

"It's the most bizarre thing I've ever come across," said Matthew Leininger, the director of museum services at the Cincinnati Art Museum, who first met Mr. Landis in 2007 when Mr. Leininger was the registrar at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and Mr. Landis offered to donate several works under his own name.

In the years since, Mr. Leininger has appointed himself as a kind of Javert to Mr. Landis's Valjean. He maintains a database of all known contacts with Mr. Landis, sightings of him and works he has copied. (He tends to favor lesser-known artists but occasionally tries his hand at a Picasso, a Watteau or a Daumier.) Mr. Leininger circulates by e-mail a picture taken of Mr. Landis in 2008 by the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, and he uses a dry-erase marker to update a laminated map in his office.

Elusive Forger, Giving but Never Stealing

(via Super Punch)

(Image: Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum)