John Myatt |Genuine Fakes:Monet in Giverny | 2023



John Myatt’s paintings are a unique way to understand the spirit and methods of history’s greatest artists. His talent and insight into their lives is again breathtakingly realised in the latest additions to his Genuine Fakes collection where he has interpreted two important pieces by Impressionist master Claude Monet at his celebrated garden at Giverny in Normandy. Monet lived there from 1883-1926, and his passion for gardens led him to create a paradise where he could paint in peace; Myatt believes that the Giverny works are some of his finest.“They show him at the peak of his powers, and they were a deeply personal project for him,” he explains.“It almost seems like a crossover into music; as you’re looking at the different colours, there’s almost a symphonic element going on under the surface of the painting and music in the way those colours speak to each other. “You can really discern this when you’re actually painting – when you’re doing it from the inside, you

can see how Monet faced the problem of painting the works at Giverny, where the gardens were created for him especially for painting, enabling him to explore different lighting without travelling, already internationally famous and at last had the luxury of being able to paint for himself.” Visiting Monet’s horticultural masterpiece at Giverny, Myatt explained how, inspired by following in the artist’s footsteps, he strongly feels the sense of purpose that his garden gave Monet, and which drove him to create some of his most celebrated paintings “When Monet was painting here, he wanted to be left alone; to deliver on his own terms. If you’ve ever tried painting outside like a true Impressionist, it’s like a magnet for for people to come up and talk to you, and then you have irritations like the wind blowing over canvases and paints. So it was easier for Monet to be an Impressionist painter when he was within an environment that he had created.”

The genius of John Myatt comes from his combination of his own creative skill with his in-depth study of the artists whose work he recreates.“It’s hugely important for me to understand them well.You can sit and stare at Monet’s work for two or three hours and suddenly notice something you’ve never seen before. “You are always learning from working in the style of Monet, because he lived for such a long time and went to so many different places as an artist.The Giverny pieces show him as man who was totally at the top of his game, and the pieces are timeless – the Avenue of Flowers could have been painted only yesterday”. Although Myatt now emulates the masters while adding his own panache, that luxury wasn’t always afforded to him.To support his family as a single father, Genuine Fakes began on the wrong side of the law, when Scotland Yard detectives called his immaculate imitations of work by art world heavyweights like Marc Chagall,Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse “the biggest art fraud of the 20th century”.

After a short stint behind bars, the detective who arrested him became the first person to commission a legitimate Myatt, followed by the barristers who wanted mementos of the case. Over 20 years later, Myatt’s work is prized by private collectors and he works with law enforcement to help expose would-be fraudsters. Myatt has managed to perfectly capture the styles and techniques of countless celebrated artists, and hugely enjoys the dialogue he has with past masters through his work.“Using another artist’s work is a great opportunity to not just look passively at their art, but engage with it too,” he explains,“I was successful because I wasn’t creating copies; it was new work in the style of a particular artist, which is much more fun. You study the work of other artists, which you then transpose into your own way of painting.There must always be something of you as an artist in the work you are creating.” Monet in Giverny is the perfect result of Myatt’s philosophy, allowing the viewer the benefit of appreciating two great artists through one breathtaking collection.


HARMONY IN GREEN THE JAPANESE BRIDGE Hand Embellished Flatbed Giclée On Canvas | Edition of 95 | Image Size 32” x 32” | Framed Size 40” x 40” | Framed £1,950

AVENUE OF FLOWERS II Hand Embellished Flatbed Giclée On Canvas | Edition of 95 | Image Size 32” x 32” | Framed Size 40” x 40” | Framed £1,950

MONET IN GIVERNY | SET OF TWO Hand Embellished Flatbed Giclée On Canvas | Framed £3,500


In 1986, John Myatt placed a classified advert in Private Eye - “19th and 20th century fakes for £200” - and a perfectly legitimate business venture was born. Producing paintings to order, he painted his way through 20th century art history, commissioned by a man called John Drewe. John’s materials were unorthodox, using household emulsion mixed with KY Jelly to add body and fluidity to his brushstrokes, yet the quality of his work led Christie’s to value one of his paintings at £30,000.This was the moment that the legitimate business stopped and the crime began. Between 1986 and 1994, John played a central role in what is cited as one of the most elaborate and sophisticated art frauds in history, masterminded by Drewe. Myatt’s painstaking renderings of works by the likes of Alberto Giacometti and Jean Dubuffet fooled critics and collectors alike, with many of these counterfeit works finding their way into private collections and public institutions in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Eventually the scheme was exposed, and Myatt was sentenced to a year long prison term for his involvement in the forgery of almost two hundred artworks. After a spell in prison for his part in what has been described as “the greatest art fraud of the 20th century”, John Myatt has gone on to become a hugely popular contemporary artist in his own right. Myatt sees his work as not simply creating an imitation of the original; he adopts their techniques and searches for the inspiration behind each great artist’s view of the world, returning to the places these artists loved, setting out to explore the angles that remain uncovered or to create the next chapter in a work. Comparing himself to an actor immersing himself in a role, he says he climbs into the mind of his chosen artist to adopt, rather than copy, their technique. Gaining attention from both national and international media and with plans for a major movie of his life in the pipeline, Myatt’s profile as an art forger turned legitimate painter continues to grow.


2007 The Masters Collection, the debut collection for John Myatt at Castle Fine Art, UK 2009 A Brush with Fame, a Sky Arts series featuring the art of John Myatt 2010 From Monet to Matisse, solo exhibitions in Birmingham, Harrogate and Cardiff, UK 2011 Fame in the Frame, a Sky Arts series featuring the art of John Myatt 2012 Provenance, solo exhibition at Waterhall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, UK 2013 Provenance, touring exhibition, UK 2013 Provenance, private reception and lecture at The Chester Grosvenor, UK 2014 Genuine Fakes, solo exhibitions in Bath, Birmingham, Chester, Guildford, London and Windsor, UK 2015 Genuine Fakes, solo exhibitions in Chester, Leeds and Newcastle, UK 2015 Fraud in Art, lecture and exhibition at Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, UK 2016 Monet in Majorca, solo exhibition and nationwide limited edition collection launch, UK 2017 Vincent, solo exhibition and nationwide limited edition collection launch, UK 2017 Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge, hosted by Giles Coren and art historian Rose Balston 2018 Fake or Fortune, guest appearance on the BBC programme, interviewed by Fiona Bruce 2019 John Myatt, exhibitions and artist appearances in Stratford and Windsor, UK 2021 Genuine Fakes:The Hopper Collection, nationwide limited edition collection launch, UK 2022 Genuine Fakes: Monet in Venice, nationwide limited edition collection launch, UK


The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2023. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

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