Tom Keating

Keating at Jane Kelly's family home        
in [[Kew, London]], 1967. Thomas Patrick Keating (1 March 1917 – 12 February 1984) was an English artist, art restorer and art forger. Considered the most prolific and versatile art forger of the 20th century, he claimed to have faked more than 2,000 paintings by more than 160 different artists of unprecedented scope—ranging from the Renaissance (Holbein, Titian, Tintoretto) to Modernism, Expressionism and Fauvism (Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse)—with heavy emphasis on English landscape Romanticists and the French Impressionists. Total estimated profits from his forgeries amount in today's value to more than $10 million.

He claimed his aim was not material gain, but rather a crusade against art dealers he believed were only interested in fine art as a commodity, for which an impressive provenance, often dubious or wholly invented, always trumped the masterful artistry and intrinsic beauty of any particular drawing or painting.

He began flooding the London art market in the early 1950s with hundreds of consistently convincing fakes, often by giving them to friends and acquaintances, with tacit expectation that many would soon end up in a posh Bond Street auction house, or gallery.

He escalated his crusade in the late 1960s and early 1970s by directing his business partner and lover, Jane Kelly, to sell several fakes of then little known romanticist, Samuel Palmer. As a result of these sales, both Keating and Kelly ended up on trial, in 1979, at the top criminal court in Britain, charged with art fraud. Kelly pleaded guilty and received an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years. After two days giving evidence, Keating ended up in hospital for a motorbike injury. He returned for a third day in court, during which he collapsed in the witness box, and was taken back to hospital. He was released without charge two weeks later due to failing health.

In 1982, he starred in an award-winning Channel 4 television series in which he instructed viewers in the intricately detailed painting techniques of his favourite Old Masters. A followup series, focusing on the Impressionists, began airing two days after his death, in 1984. Provided by Wikipedia
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Published 1977
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