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假画大师将被搬上大银幕

2006-05-15 09:56蒋黎黎,CRI

Hollywood Eyes Art Faker's Tale

For Hollywood, it is an enticing script idea. Amateur painter John Myatt bamboozled the art world with a string of counterfeit Monets and Picassos that were sold to collectors around the world. He got caught and went to jail.

On release, he built a new life selling "genuine fake" canvasses of great artists.

The detective who arrested Myatt was so impressed by his talent that he commissioned him to do a family portrait. Even the lawyers at his trial bought Myatt paintings.

Now Hollywood producers Jay Weston and Fred Levinson have acquired the rights from Myatt for a biopic about the scam that London police once called "the biggest art fraud of the 20th century."

"I am providing all the paintings for the film," said the 60-year-old artist, who this week stages the biggest exhibition yet of his counterfeit paintings at St Paul's Gallery in Birmingham.

"I shall be fully collaborating on the filming of the movie. But I am sure they will be adding car chases and sex scenes which never were in the original," he told Reuters.

"I am told Michael Douglas is also interested in making a film about the case and I believe he bought the rights from a journalist who wrote a story about the trial. I offered to do some paintings for the film but never heard anything back."

Hollywood is full of tales about film deals that never materialise, but Myatt is convinced Weston, who has produced biopics of W.C. Fields and Billie Holiday, will deliver.

"They are confident it will make it to the screen. I have signed the contract. They are planning to start shooting at the end of the year at the latest."

In the Eighties, Myatt worked as an art teacher. When his wife left him, he was stranded at home looking after two young children and churning out his counterfeit Great Masters.

He put an advertisement in Private Eye offering "Genuine fakes" for sale. John Drewe became a regular customer and then one day announced that a major auction house had mistaken one of the forgeries for a genuine painting by Salon cubist Albert Gleizes.

From 1985 to 1993, Myatt supplied up to 200 paintings to Drewe who falsified art archives, faked catalogues and duped auctioneers and collectors.

When police finally exposed the scam, Myatt pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in jail. He served just four months. Drewe received six years and served three.

Myatt has found that selling "genuine fakes" makes more money. "When I was a criminal I made about 13,000 pounds a year. Now I make more than that," he said.

Myatt, who also gives lectures on art forgery with detectives, said: "I have been given a second chance. A big finger has pointed down from the sky and said 'Don't Mess Up'. I am very conscious of that."

But he is highly amused by one final twist in his surreal career —— he discovered a London forger has been selling fake Myatts. "Isn't it marvellous? Let him get on with it."


对好莱坞而言,英国画家约翰·迈亚特的经历是个绝好的电影脚本。从20世纪全球最大艺术品伪造案的制造者到以专卖赝品谋生的假画大师,迈亚特的传奇人生即将被搬上大银幕。

据路透社5月9日报道,上世纪90年代,迈亚特成功炮制出200多件名画赝品,愚弄世界顶级拍卖行和收藏家整整10年,与合伙人制造出了上世纪全球最大的艺术品伪造案。

迈亚特原是英国一个清贫的美术老师,时而靠临摹名画赚取微薄收入。后来,一个名叫约翰·德鲁的人看中迈亚特的非凡才能,让迈亚特专门为他炮制名家赝品以骗取拍卖行牟取暴利。而德鲁本人则通过电脑修改英国各大美术馆、博物馆的艺术品登记册,为迈亚特炮制出的“真品”添加虚假出处和证明文件等。迈亚特的“名人真迹”出现后一炮走红。这些假画不仅卖给了许多私人收藏家,甚至骗过了像索思比这样的大型拍卖行的眼睛。

最终,德鲁的女友在被抛弃之后愤然将伪造名画之事和盘托出,德鲁和迈亚特的案子被定性为20世纪最大的艺术品伪造案。1999年,迈亚特被判监禁1年,但由于表现良好只服刑了4个月。

在该案的调查过程中,一名侦探就被迈亚特的非凡才能所震撼,他专门委托迈亚特为自己的家人画一幅肖像。而参与审理该案的律师们也纷纷购买迈亚特临摹出来的名家巨作。迈亚特没想到自己的画作如此受欢迎,于是出狱后他又重新拾起画笔,公开出售他临摹的名家作品,但会在画上表明“真实的赝品——约翰·迈亚特”的字样。

目前,好莱坞制片人杰·韦斯顿和佛瑞德·莱文森已经从迈亚特那里购买了拍摄迈亚特传记故事的电影版权。现年60岁的迈亚特透露说:“我为电影拍摄提供了所需要的画作。我将全力参与电影的拍摄工作,但我想他们会在电影中加入汽车追逐和性爱场面,而这些在现实中却没有发生过。”

迈亚特还说:“著名电影人迈克尔·道格拉斯曾经也想就这场名画伪造案件拍一部电影,他已经从撰写该案报告文学的一名记者那里购买了拍摄版权,我也为他的电影提供了一些绘画作品,不过后来他那边就没来消息了。”

尽管好莱坞的许多拍片协议最后都无果而终,但迈亚特相信韦斯顿他们最终会将自己的故事搬上大银幕。他说:“他们相信这个故事一定会吸引观众,我也签订了相关协议,他们计划在今年年底尽快开拍。”

近日,迈亚特正在伯明翰的圣保罗画廊举办他个人最大的“真实的赝品”画展。迈亚特说,出售临摹名家的作品可以为自己带来更加丰厚的收入,“当年我替别人炮制赝品时,每年只能赚取1.3万英镑。现在我合法出售临摹画作,赚的钱反而更多“。如今,迈亚特经常收到来自世界各地的顾客要求他临摹一些世界名画。他的作品可以卖出850英镑至4700英镑的价格。迈亚特指出:”临摹的名画有它的可取之处,它的价格便宜,你可以随心所欲地买来装饰屋子,而面对一幅价值百万的凡高的作品,人们恐怕就不敢轻易出手了。“

如今,迈亚特还经常给调查艺术品伪造案的警方人员上课。他说:“我获得了人生的第二次机会。”从艺术骗子到专卖赝品谋生,迈亚特的故事充满了传奇色彩。戏剧性的是,迈亚特已发现有一名伦敦的画家已经开始在非法炮制他的作品。为此他幽默地说:“他也想像我一样开始?”

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