57-year-old Mississippi native Mark Landis is a quirky man with a big secret he’s been able to hide for almost three decades. Landis is a “master art forger.”
Beginning in 1987, Landis donated his forgeries, which he passing off as the real thing, to dozens of U.S. museums in 20 states.
Though Landis’ deceit was finally uncovered in 2010, he never financially profited from his ruse, which often involved his dressing up as a Jesuit priest, since all the works were donated in the memory of relatives.
Why did he do it? It’s not exactly clear, but he offers us a peak at his psyche when he says, “I’d been hearing about great families giving away pictures in memory of their loved ones. I wanted mother to be proud of me … sure I had done something in dad’s memory.”
The life and journey of Mark Landis is one of the stranger tales that The Avant/Garde Diaries has profiled, but you have to admit it’s a fascinating story.