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Extended Audio Sample Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger, by Ken Perenyi Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (292 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ken Perenyi Narrator: Dan Butler Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The true story of America’s greatest art forger! Ten years ago, an FBI investigation was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have been front-page news in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents to art dealers, renowned experts, and the major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite an abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure.” Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, this audiobook, Caveat Emptor, is that artist Ken Perenyi’s confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off. Unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing the experts in mere seconds.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “By his own admission, Ken Perenyi is a liar, a cheat, and a thief—but to give him his due, he is also pretty brilliant…His astonishing memoir, Caveat Emptor, is by turns horrifying and hilarious…One hesitates to praise an unrepentant wrongdoer’s autobiography—innocent teenagers contemplating career options should not be allowed near this book—but anybody with the slightest interest in painting or deception will find Caveat Emptor an engrossing read.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Even if you know nothing about fine art, Dan Butler’s superb performance will bring this complex and sometimes shady world to life. His sensitive delivery of Ken Perenyi’s poignant memoir of life as a liar and thief makes it hard not to like this consummate scam artist in spite of it all…Butler’s easy reading style carries the narrative flawlessly, with occasional forays into excitement and danger where the going get tight for Perenyi. At those points he ratchets up the emotional wattage just enough to keep you on the edge. This is a thoroughly competent delivery using only Butler’s native voice—but what a voice.”


  • “The most fascinating parts of his account are his meticulous descriptions of the forging process…A captivating story rich in illuminating details.”


  • “Perenyi channels Holden Caulfield with his forthright, unadorned prose style and straightforward accounts of his past exploits…The details of Perenyi’s forgeries are fascinating, as is the development of his artistic though duplicitous techniques.”

    Library Journal

  • “Readers will be captivated as they follow the development of this remarkable talent over a forty-year career.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Beth | 2/18/2014

    " Caveat Emptor is a quirky tale about Ken Perenyi's experience as an art forger who passed off dozens? hundreds? of paintings as originals. The book begins with some over-telling about his youth that really doesn't connect with the meat of the story--his art forging experience. The first half of the book could be summed up as he was a disengaged youth, unsure of what to do with his life until he happened upon art forgery. The second half of the book reads more as arrogant boasting than truthful story telling. While I still found the story compelling, I wonder how much is truth and how much is an embellishment of the truth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Gail Berinato | 2/5/2014

    " Could be a how to book to forge paintings. I am amazed at the speed he painted his detailed paintings! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lou | 1/23/2014

    " I gave it a 3 star because i enjoy books on art, art forgery, history etc. but agree with Scott's review. It seems as if two people wrote this book. I also found the Roy Cohen part fascinating. Questions that are left unanswered: is there really this much art forgery in the world? Why didn't the feds prosecute him? Why drop the case? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kasandra | 1/15/2014

    " Fabulously entertaining and full of detail about how he pulled off more than 30 years of forgeries, Perenyi illuminates the world of art dealers, collectors, and auction houses in a way that will most likely make you not feel quite so bad for those people who bought his works, believing they were authentic. Great photos in the book, and an envious description of a rollicking lifestyle in New York, Miami, and London from the late 60s onward. "

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About the Author

Ken Perenyi was one of the world’s greatest art forgers for more than thirty years, only barely eluding a heavy prison sentence at the end of his covert career. He currently runs an art gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he still produces some of the most remarkable forgeries in the world.