"John Myatt is only the latest in a long line of great British forgers with notoriety and infamy as his calling cards. The extent and audacity of his crime were breathtaking – I still can’t believe he got away with it. He was part of arguably the most sophisticated fraud in the faking of paintings ever perpetrated, and certainly the most impressive in recent memory. Over a period of nine years beginning in 1986 he faked as many as 200 works by assorted 20th century painters and draughtsmen. Only sixty have ever been recovered by police and some of the remainder are undoubtedly still hanging in museums and private collections where they are being revered and enjoyed as originals.
Always a keen painter at school John moved on logically to art college and for a while thereafter he was – like so many frustrated painters – a teacher of art in a secondary modern. Confident in his technique, he fell into faking at a time when, as a single parent, he was struggling to supporthis children. Then, like so many other fakers, once illegality and its ready profits had him in its clutches he couldn’t extricate himself.
There is no question he boasts all the requisite qualifications for a top forger, principle among which is being able to examine the works of a celebrated artist and absorb their subjects, forms and colours to the degree that he is then able to create a convincingnew work from scratch.
He came unstuck only when his ‘Giacomettis’ and ‘Ben Nicholsons’ were shown to scholars so steeped in the work of these artists they were probably as adept at identifying a fake as the artist himself would have been." - David Lee, art critic and editor of The Jackdaw