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The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Art Forger

Hachette Book Group USA,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Art forgery put Tony Tetro in jail; afterward, wealthy buyers knowingly paid him to copy great works.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


Tony Tetro’s confessional memoir provides a riveting, inside view of the multimillion dollar business of art forgery. Convincingly forging masterpieces goes well beyond just having the necessary artistic talent. Tetro carefully selected the right paints, canvases and frames, and invented a credible provenance for each fake. Even so, his success hinged in many ways on the widespread complicity of art dealers and others who knew his works were fake but bought them anyway. Tetro faced legal punishment for his forgeries, but today wealthy clients hire him to produce paintings in the styles of Dalí, Degas and Monet. The difference is that now he can claim them.


Tony Tetro showed artistic talent at a young age.

Raised in Fulton, New York, Tony Tetro was an unremarkable student who excelled in art. By age 10, he started to draw copies of photographs. His mother purchased oil paints for him. His first art instructor was a high school teacher who discussed the “visual poetry” of Chagall and the surrealism of Dalí. Tetro liked the works of Impressionists, old masters and Renaissance painters.

In 1965, Tetro became a father at age 16. He married his girlfriend, Marguerite, and got a job on a milk truck. In 1969, he drove to Pomona, California to stay with his grandmother and seek opportunities for his young family. He worked as a house painter with his oldest brother, Peter, who lived nearby.

Tetro rented a small apartment for his family. To amuse himself, he painted copies of works by Picasso, Renoir, Rembrandt and other great artists. Tetro painted at the kitchen table while his family slept.

He visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to try to grasp Rembrandt’s techniques. Tetro regarded Rembrandt as “the greatest painter ever.”&#...

About the Author

Tony Tetro continues to paint in the style of famous painters for private clients. Journalist Giampiero Ambrosi discovered Tetro’s inadvertent connection to Prince Charles’ art forgery scandal and later leaked it to the Mail on Sunday.

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