Walk into any of the world’s museums or art auction houses, and you have good reason to doubt your own eyes. Is that Picasso real? Did Modigliani really paint that masterpiece? The answer may be no. These works could very well be the hand of Elmyr de Hory, one of history’s most talented and prolific art forgers.
Filmmaker Jeff Oppenheim (“Funny Valentine,” Universal Pictures, “A Passion for Giving,” PBS) met the executor of Elmyr’s estate, Mark Forgy, who lived with this enigmatic art forger for close to a decade and inherited his estate. Sifting through the personal effects, correspondences, documents, and photographs left behind after El- myr’s death, and capturing the recollections of private conversations Forgy had with Elmyr, Oppenheim unravels the mystery of Elmyr’s true identity, extent of his criminal activity, personal motivations,
and unusual and extraordinary talent.
Joining forces with a professional art crime investigator, the film chronicles Elmyr’s life and work. Together, the team examines Elmyr’s past, cuts through a myriad of aliases, searching for never-before-revealed archival records, police files, and the circumstances contributing to his illicit career. During this investigative journey, we hope to discover some of the many forgeries, still misattributed as originals in private collections today, and to create a discourse regarding the aesthetic, moral and economic impact of these “crimes of deception.”