One for the Monet
With a resume that reads more like a Hollywood screenplay,
John Myatt was infamous for his artistic genius before the
world even knew his name. Having already fooled the experts
in the biggest art con of the 20 Century, he is now legitimately
taking the art world by storm with his latest collection of
‘Original Fakes’. His six new limited edition pieces created
in the style of Monet, stand as a testament to his talent
and showcase his ability to match the Masters, stroke for stroke.
With Myatt’s collection launching nationwide in early summer 2007
and a limited number of personal appearances, publishers Washington
Green are extremely proud at the opportunity to secure the rights
to publish his work.
“I’ve long admired the work of John Myatt and to have been able to
sign him exclusively to Washington Green is very exciting for us.”
Says the founder, Glyn Washington, “We know his collection of six
Monets are going to be so well received by art lovers across the UK.”
While Myatt may be a celebrity in his own right today, his beginnings
as an art teacher struggling to bring up two small children alone
were not quite so glamorous. Needing to find a way to generate a
bigger income and provide a better life for his family, Myatt decided
to use his talent for reproducing masterpieces and in 1986 placed
a Classified Ad in Private Eye, offering ‘19th and 20th century fakes
for £200’. At this point he had every intention of starting up a
Then Myatt met ‘Professor Drewe’, a man claiming to be a nuclear
physicist, who commissioned a number of paintings, paintings
that were copied so brilliantly that Drewe had one valued at
Christie’s for £30,000.
This Myatt admitted “Was the moment that
the legitimate business stopped and the crime began.”
In the following years Myatt produced a production line of paintings
to order, including works by Ben Nicholson, Nicolas de Stael,
Le Corbusier, Matisse, Roger Bissiere, Giacometti and Dufy.
Concentrating on the visual, rather than worrying about the technical
accuracy, Myatt even used household emulsion mixed with K-Y jelly
in his work, saying that this technique added body and fluidity to his
Despite these unconventional methods, over 200 of his copies were
sold through leading auction houses in London and New York,
remaining undetected under the scrupulous gaze of countless
leading art experts.
When the con was eventually uncovered, Myatt was sentenced in
1999 to 12 months in Brixton Prison for Art Fraud. After serving
6 months he was released, astonishingly enough with an already
existing client base, starting with his arresting officer from the
Arts & Antiques Squad at Scotland Yard. Now working on the right
side of the law, Myatt is very much in demand for his ‘Genuine Fakes’
of some of the worlds most sort after, but outrageously priced
The unveiling of Myatt’s latest collection, styled upon some of
Monet’s finest and perhaps most recognisable work, including
Morning On The Seine, Study For Houses Of Parliament At Sunset,
Camille & Jean Monet In A Poppyfield, Water Lillies, The Japanese
Bridge and Santa Maria Della Salute will be eagerly anticipated by
those who could only ever have dreamed of owning an original Monet.
Once again Myatt’s brushstrokes have not only mirrored Monet’s
superb use of colour and light, but they have also captured the
same sense of peace and serenity in each scene as Monet himself
had done. It is this ability to emulate the masters that is the secret
of Myatt’s success and the reason that he has been able to both
fool and delight so many with his work.
“Although I frequently use modern paints and canvasses the hope
is that the finished painting will deceive the eye into thinking that
it is seeing a new work by an established master”.
So great is Myatt’s reputation today that a new film is now in the
pipeline, with Director-Screenwriter Barry Levinson, of ‘When
Harry met Sally’ fame taking the helm. “I’m immensely excited about
the prospect of my story appearing on the big screen. It’s currently
in the early stages of script writing and development and I’m hoping
we may see it go into production at the end of this year.” says Myatt.
This time round Myatt is probably a little more cautious about
keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground and making the
most out of this rare second chance for success. Yet with the art
world singing his praises and Hollywood calling, who could not
expect him to want to keep aiming for the stars.
feature as published in Fine Art Collector