“Artful Codgers” the amazing story of an improbable gang of art forgers, the Greenhalghs


Watch this episode of Cutting Edge on the Greenhalghs, an unlikely art forgery ring, which made up for their basic operational structure – they were a somewhat dysfunctional family – with sheer skill and artful genius.

Their method, was simple. Find reference, in dusty art-historical tomes, in the back rooms of specialized libraries, of some piece of art or artifact that had since gone missing – and remake it, lock stock and barrel.

Baffling, bewildering and brilliant!

Shawn Greenhalg was a 47-year-old recluse who created some truly amazing fakes – which, not without some controversy, fooled the experts of the British Museum, Tate Modern, Henry Moore Institute, Chicago’s Institute of Art and the great auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s. – in his family’s garage. Wikipedia contiinues: 

Over a seventeen-year period, between 1989 and 2006, he produced a phenomenal range of forgeries. Teaming up with his brother and elderly parents, who fronted the sales side of the operation, he successfully sold his fakes internationally to museums, auction houses, and private buyers, accruing nearly a million pounds.

The family have been described by Scotland Yard as “possibly the most diverse forgery team in the world, ever.” However, when they attempted to sell three Assyrian reliefs using the same provenance as they had previously, suspicions were raised. Apprehended, Shaun Greenhalgh was sentenced to prison for four years and eight months in November 2007.[1]

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition of Greenhalgh’s “works” from 23 January to 7 February 2010.[2] The Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit built a replica model of the shed where the “works” were created and labelled Greenhalgh “the most diverse art forger known in history”. Many of his fakes, including the Amarna PrincessRisley Park Lanx, Barbara Hepworth Goose and Thomas Moran paintings were displayed.[3]

Shawn made some wonderful art during his “run…” we post a picture of his remarkable FAKE “The Faun”by Gaugin.


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