It was unusual that Sara de Vos was a master painter in the male-dominated art world of 17th century Holland. Just one of her paintings was known to have survived, handed down through generations of the de Groots, a wealthy Dutch American family. Then, in 1957, the painting is taken off the wall of Marty de Groot’s New York home and replaced with a clever fake, brilliantly executed by Ellie Shipley, an Australian art history student at Columbia.
The story weaves effortlessly between Sara’s life in Holland, 1950s New York and present day Sydney where catastrophe is about to happen. Ellie is now a well-known art historian and has brought together a new exhibition of Dutch female artists. By a twist of fate both the original painting and the fake she made are scheduled to arrive at the art gallery at the same time, threatening to shatter the successful life she has built up.
This is a thrilling read and you really can’t put it down. It’s beautifully written and gives a fascinating insight into the art world and forgeries in particular. I especially liked the character of Sara and admired her strength and dignity in a very difficult life. The other characters are also very well portrayed but not always wholly likeable.
This is an excellent book and highly recommended.
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