Art: The Best Phonies

At the entrance to a Paris exhibition stood a blue-uniformed policeman. "En-trez, Messieurs—Mesdames," he called, "everything you see around you is false." The show, organized by the Surete Generale to increase vigilance against artistic forgeries, contained fake stamps, coins, "neolithic'' pottery, manuscripts and old masters, many of them so well done that they had fooled even the experts. Among the best forgeries: a Goya Crockery Seller on old canvas, with small, fanlike cracks to simulate age, a clever Pissarro landscape with false documentation of past owners, along with dazzling phonies labeled Da Vinci,...

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