An Art Forger Revealed: the Myth, Mystery, and Legacy of Elmyr de Hory
Part of the "Distinguished Lecture Seriess"

March 9th, 2020, West Texas A&M University, Amarillo, TX


The Secret Life of Art Forger Elmyr de Hory - His Struggle to Emerge from Infamy

February 17 - April 15, 2020, Hillstrom Museum of Art, St Peter, MN


lecture: The Secret Life of Art Forger Elmyr de Hory - His Struggle to Emerge from Infamy

Sunday, March 22, 3:30 p.m., Bjorling Recital Hall on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. It’s free and open to the public.


The Artist Beneath the Art Forger


by Max Horberry, The New York Times, Feb. 21, 2020

Mark Forgy’s home on the outskirts of Minneapolis looks like a museum. Works of art hang floor-to-ceiling. They hang in stairwells, in closets and behind doors. In the living room, a bronze bust of the artist who made all these pieces smirks slightly from the corner, admiring his work: a Matisse, a Modigliani, a handful of Picassos.




Elmyr de Hory - the twentieth century’s greatest art forger

Podcast interview with Mark Forgy by Will Beacham - October, 2019




Elmyr de Hory - The Story of the Most Famous Forger in Art History

by Elena Martinique, WIDEWALLS, June 19, 2019


Everything about Elmyr de Hory was a grand gesture of artifice. The world’s most talented and most successful art forger ever, he was a monocle-wearing charmer who seduced everyone he met, including Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Rita Hayworth, and Orson Welles. Struggling to succeed as an artist, along the way he realized he had an exceptional talent of imitating styles of Modernist masters. However, these forgeries were only an extension of an existence immersed in deception.




The Art Market’s Modigliani Forgery Epidemic

by MILTON ESTEROW, Vanity Fair, May 2017


A skyrocketing interest in Amedeo Modigliani’s work is producing Picasso-level price tags, with major museum shows stoking the flame. Buyers are wary, though: the mystery surrounding one of the world’s most-faked artists has led to death threats, lawsuits, and hoaxes.




Elmyr, the True Picture?

June 16, 1:00 pm - Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Part of the "Treasures on Trial Documentary Film Series"


Hungarian-born Elmyr de Hory (1906–1976) was widely recognized as the most prolific art forger of the twentieth century. His convincing pastiches of modern masters including Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Renoir, and others, found their way into prestigious private and public collections on five continents. De Hory's personal assistant, Mark Forgy, lender to Treasures on Trial and author of The Forger's Apprentice - Life with the World's Most Notorious Artist, will be here for a Q&A after our presentation of the 1970 BBC documentary Elmyr, The True Picture? Please join us for some behind-the-scenes insights into the life of this intriguing artist and con man.




Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes

April 1, 2017–January 7, 2018


Recent forgery scandals in the art world have captured headlines around the world, raising questions about the authenticity of art, antiques, and collectibles.  The timely exhibition Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes reveals some of the most clever and most costly deceptions of our time by pairing diverse examples of fake objects with conservation science from Winterthur’s own Scientific Research and Analysis Lab, alongside the research of several other leading conservation scientists in the country. Visitors will see more than 40 examples of fakes and forgeries from the Winterthur collection as well as public and private sources and discover the motives for their creation and the evidence used in their detection. 

The exhibition will examine artwork, couture, silver, sporting memorabilia, wine, musical instruments, antiquities, and stamps along with ceramics, furniture, and folk art. This broad selection of luxury and everyday objects further illustrates that rarity, supply, and desirability can make anything fair game for a clever forger or fraudster intent on turning a handsome profit.

Winterthur’s conservators, scientists, and technicians are leaders in the field of scientific analysis of fine art and antiques, and its curatorial team is renowned for their connoisseurship skills. Scientific analysis and stylistic clues will be presented alongside artwork and objects, exposing the broad range of motives and techniques used to test and fool collectors and experts. These tricks of the trade will also reveal fascinating stories about the forgers themselves. 

Together with fraud expert Colette Loll of Art Fraud Insights LLC, Winterthur’s Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles Linda Eaton will introduce some of the most famous forgery scandals of the twentieth century.

Treasures on Trial will examine intriguing questions such as: What gets faked and why? How do you spot a fake? How does scientific methodology assist in this? Visitors will be invited to investigate several unresolved examples and share their opinion about the authenticity of the object based on the available evidence.

Put on your CSI hat and join us for this captivating exhibition. 


For information, visit:

Interview: Mark Forgy, Elmyr de Hory's apprentice, on his mentor's approach to art


The San Francisco Review of Books presents this four-article series on the life of Elmyr de Hory, as told by his apprentice and best friend, Mark Forgy: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Art and Cultural Heritage Crime Symposium 2016 at New York University


Date: Thursday, November 3, 9:15am - 10:15am


Art and Cultural Heritage Crime Symposium
Woolworth Building
15 Barclay Street (cross streets: Broadway and Church Street)
4th floor Public Assembly Room


Mark Forgy will be Keynote speaker, and will present a lecture titled, "The Secrets of Elmyr de Hory: Template for an Art Forger."




My friend and collaborator, Kevin Bowen, and I wrote and produced a dramatic adaptation of my memoir The Forger’s Apprentice. It debuted at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in the summer of 2013. We understood the challenge of telling a complex story in a less-than-60-minutes format. While it was a workshop production, it confirmed our beliefs that it had all the ingredients to be an entertaining show. So, we thought we could build on that experience.

We were asked to do a two-act version of the play in 2014. We agreed, though, a couple weeks into the rewrite, Kevin asked “What would you think of doing it as a musical?” Without too much forethought to impede my answer, I said OK. Kevin then enlisted another friend to join us in this new endeavor, C. A. McNerlin. Like Kevin, a talented song writer/musician. The Forger’s Apprentice – The Musical debuted in June, 2015.

We will have excerpts of the new show here in the near future.

Thank you for your interest!

Mark Forgy




“Who would prefer a bad original to a good fake?” - Elmyr de Hory


Dipsofilms invites you on a remarkable journey of investigative reportage with its release of Elmyr On The Edge in December 2016. This in-depth study of Elmyr de Hory promises to be the best researched film about the artist whose life of deception was long shrouded in mystery and mythology. His emergence from the shadows of the art world opened a new door to fame, irony, and tragedy. He was a creative genius, chameleon, fraudster, my friend and mentor, a man of secrets whose imprint on modern art is not likely to be matched – ever. Elmyr On The Edge reveals the true backstory that rewrites what we thought we knew about one of the most elusive outliers of the twentieth century.


Mark Forgy


Follow this link for the trailer:


After Elmyr de Hory: A New Film


"Happy Media Monday! CF is pleased to announce a new film project, once again tapping into Orson Welles’ genius. In the early 1970’s, Welles travelled to Ibiza, a small island in Spain. He was making a film to eventually be called F For Fake, involving a number of fakers, from to Elmyr de Hory – widely regarded as the best art forger of our time – to his biographer Clifford Irving (himself a fake), to Orson Welles himself. The film is a masterpiece of film editing, and in the middle of the chaos is young twenty-something Mark Forgy. Mark lived with Elmyr as friend, protégé, and assistant for years, up until his death in 1976. Elmyr bequeathed his collection of paintings to Mark, who brought them back to the U.S."


"Earlier this year, Francisco reached out to Mark Forgy, and the two began an instant friendship and exchange of ideas about Elmyr and art. From these emails and phone conversations, an idea for a film project emerged – one that goes beyond F For Fake to examine the complications of Welles’ film, the art market, and the work of Elmyr, overlaying these questions in a kind of fugue. Indeed, the story of Elmyr is still relevant and popular, as people have begun to produce fake fakes, which they purport were executed by Elmyr."


"Seeing how tangled this web is, we at CF were happy to begin filming this project in October in MN, when Francisco was at Winona State University giving a talk on film, which included discussion of F For Franco and led into F For Fake. This short film gives you a brief intro to F For Fake, Orson, Mark, and Elmyr. "


For current information, visit:

La leyenda de Elmyr continÚa


La productora Dipso Films rueda en Ibiza las últimas tomas del documental que prepara sobre Elmyr d´Hory y para el que cuentan con su heredero, Mark Forgy, y con el coleccionista José Luis Branger, entre otros testimonios


Lea el artículo

'Art and Craft:' How Mark Landis became a forgery expert


The "Art and Craft" directors join The Daily Circuit along with Mark Forgy, Twin Cities writer and Elmyr de Hory's former apprentice, to discuss the art of deception.


Read the article



Mark Forgy recently lectured at the Canton Museum of Art in Canton, OH, on October 1st and in Asheville, NC on October 2nd. For more information please visit the links below:


The Canton Museum of Art:
Asheville NC Website:


NPR's Snap Judgment, "Elmyr / The Grand Illusion"

National Public Radio - August 3, 2014


Mark Forgy was an All American boy from the midwest backpacking through Europe, when a chance meeting with a total stranger changed his life forever.

Listen online


Masterpieces of deception: Some fake art worth real money

CBS NEWS - April 16, 2014


One forgery -- meaning not an exact copy, but a painting in the style of the Italian master Modigliani -- was actually painted by Hungarian forger Elmyr de Hory. "I don't feel bad for Modigliani, I feel good for me," de Hory once said.

De Hory, who had trouble selling his own works, slipped hundreds of forgeries onto the art market in the 1950s and 1960s. "I never offered a painting or a drawing to a museum who didn't buy it," he said. "They never refused one -- never."

View the story


At This Massachusetts Art Museum, Some Forgeries
Are Faker Than Others (But Better Not Trust Your Eyes)

Forbes - March 27, 2014


In 1967, the aristocratic Hungarian art collector Elmyr de Hory told his neighbor a secret. All the modern masters on the walls of his Ibiza mansion were fakes; he was the real painter. Others that he’d made, including artwork attributed to Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, had been sold to museums around the world. He’d lost his family fortune with the Second World War. Forgery was how de Hory made his living.

Read the article


Intent to Deceive and Becoming Cuba

WGBH Boston


Jared visits the Springfield Museums for a preview of their ground-breaking exhibit, Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World, and talks with playwright Melinda Lopez about her stirring new drama Becoming Cuba, opening Friday, March 28th, at the Huntington Theatre Company’s Calderwood Pavilion

View the episode


Dark Arts
"Intent to Deceive" takes a close look at famous forgers

The Recorder, Greenfield, MA - March 26, 2014


With TV crews from Russia, Spain and CBS News, as well as correspondents arriving from Germany, China, France, Denmark and other points of the compass, Springfield’s D’Amour Museum exhibit of art forgery and fakes has struck a resounding global chord. Perhaps no one is more surprised at this wellspring of interest than the show’s guest curator, Colette Loll.

Read the article


The real story of how the world's most notorious art collection wound up in Minnesota

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine - March 21, 2014


It was 1976, and Mark Forgy was a tawny, blue-eyed hippie from Hopkins sitting in the back seat of a car racing through the distant roads of Ibiza, cradling the frail body of Elmyr de Hory—the greatest art forger of the 20th century.

Read the article:

“New Exhibit in Springfield Explores World of Forged Artwork”

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) - January 21, 2014


Click below to view a TV segment done on the exhibition in Massachusetts. Curator Colette Loll and collector Mark Forgy will lecture together at the museum in March 2014. Elmyr’s ‘Matisse’ is featured in advertising the show.

Download the online catalogue here:

“So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real”

From The New York Times, December 31, 2013


A personal escort — flying first class to be well rested and alert — will accompany the painting “The Head of Christ” from the moment it leaves the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, until it is safely locked in the vault at Springfield Museums in Massachusetts this month, when it will be exhibited in the United States for the first time.

A 24-hour escort is not an unusual requirement for valuable international museum loans. What makes the security arrangements — estimated to cost more than $31,000 — notable in this case is that the painting is a fake...

“Fakers, Fakes, & Fake Fakers ”

Click to download as a PDF

From ARTnews, November 2013


Elmyr de Hory was never accused of making copies. He faked Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Derain, and Dufy, and he insisted that David Stein “uttered the worst sort of nonsense” when he claimed that he would go “into the mind and soul of the artist” and became Matisse when he painted Matisse.

“Could you write a story like Hemingway by trying to put yourself into Hemingway’s mind and soul? Could you become Hemingway? No, it’s a terribly vulgar and romantic explanation . . . though I‘m sure the public eats it up. What I did was study—very, very carefully—the man’s work. That’s all there is to it....

“Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World ”

Touring from January 2014 – August 2015


This ground-breaking exhibition spotlights some of the world's most notorious con artists, illuminating their dubious legacies, and examining how their talents, charm, and audacity beguiled and assaulted the art world for much of the 20th century through the present day. Several ingenious forgers of the 20th century are profiled in this exhibition representing some of the most infamous scandals of the century. Han van Meegeren, Elmyr de Hory and Eric Hebborn all shook the art world with their exploits, garnering each of them worldwide notoriety but an untimely death. More recently, John Myatt, and Mark Landis have been in the news for their prolific and stylistically diverse art frauds, landing one in jail...


“Proyecto Fake. Elmyr de Hory”
Círculo de Bellas Artes, in Madrid, Feb to May 2013


“Proyecto Fake. Elmyr de Hory” will be on view from February (probably 6 or 7) to May 2013 in one of the most important cultural institutions in Spain, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, in Madrid. The Circle of Fine Arts was founded in 1880; is a private cultural non-profit institution declared "Protection center of Fine Arts and Public Utility, and has a major program of exhibitions, conferences, publications … is one of the most prestigious cultural centers in Spain; is located in the center of Madrid, Calle Alcalá; "in front" of Ritz Hotel, and near The Prado and Thyssen Museums.


Dec 5, 2012 - During the 20th century, one man, a charming Hungarian aristocrat named Elmyr de Hory, threatened to take down the entire art world with his flawless forgeries. From Van Gogh to Matisse and everyone in between, de Hory was a master drawer and forger who fooled the most savvy of art critics, collectors, and museums with his immaculate fakes. TREATS! delves into the mercurial man who went by dozens of nom de plumes and finds, in a delicious twist of fate, that the master copier is now considered a “master artist” by the very community he bilked for so many years.


  Elmyr de Hory's self-portrait, from about 1970, was discovered recently in France.
  As seen inAs seen in The New York Times


Gleaning the True Identity of an Enigmatic Forger

From The New York Times, April 7, 2011


Elmyr de Hory, a Hungarian-born painter known for forging works by Picasso, Modigliani and Matisse, was the subject of biographies and documentaries full of his own lies about his background. In 1976, while under investigation for art fraud, he committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, leaving behind boxes of paperwork that are now yielding some truths.


Mark Forgy (pronounced FOR-ghee), a writer in suburban Minneapolis who was Mr. de Hory’s assistant and housemate on Ibiza in the 1970s, inherited the archive. He has been poring over it with Colette Loll Marvin, an art historian in Paris. They are conducting interviews and tracking down government records to update a Web site and to produce a documentary and exhibition, both titled “Elmyr de Hory: The Art and Science of Deception.”


“I’m so far down the rabbit hole,” Ms. Marvin said in a recent phone interview, “I’m just not going to rest until I find out who this man is.”

Click to read the article


Click to contact Colette Loll Marvin



Elmyr Exhibit at The Hillstrom Museum of Art

MINNESOTA, USA: February 15 - April 18, 2010 The Hillstrom Museum of Art in St. Peter, Minnesota, featured Elmyr de Hory, Artist and Faker. "Included works by one of the most notorious art fakers of modern times, Elmyr de Hory, who claimed to have placed hundreds of his fakes of modern masters such as Henri Matisse (1869 -1954) or Amedeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920) in museums across the U.S. Collector Mark Forgy, who formed a close friendship with de Hory in the final years of his life, will lend works by the artist, done in the style of others but signed with his own name, that de Hory bequeathed to him." Public lecture: Mark Forgy, Sunday, March 21, 2010 (3:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the Wallenberg Auditorium, Nobel Hall of Science. Mark Forgy, owner of the works on view presented a public lecture based on his memoir of his time with de Hory. Click to view the Press Release.


A Forger's Fears

A Longtime Companion Shares Memories of Art Faker Elmyr De Hory

by Jonathan Lopez

Art & Antiques Magazine, May 2010
Click to download article


Fakes and Forgeries on Exhibition

The Daily Mail - Posted: April 29, 2010
Click to read article.


My friend, the forger

The story of an unlikely bond between a backpacking Minnesota kid and a charming Hungarian who was the art world's most notorious faker.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 14, 2010
Click to read the article


Elmyr Fake in "The Dark Arts: Thieves, Forgers and Tomb Raiders"

An exhibit at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, DC. Click to view photo.