Tom Keating Master Faker Painting after Edward Seago

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  • Item Category: Fine Art
  • Source: eBay UK
  • Sold Date: Jun 12, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

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An Original Painting

by the infamous art forger Tom Keating

after Edward Seago 1910 - 1974

A superb Keating with characteristic use of colour and texture to create a highly pleasing painting in Keating's after Seago style. The painting depicts a coastal scene with a boats. A wonderful Keating that would equally grace home or boardroom.

Tom Keating was an art restorer and famous art forger who claimed to have forged over 2000 paintings by over 100 different artists. Tom Keating was born in London into a poor family. After World War Two he began to restore paintings for a living, though he also worked as a house painter to make ends meet. In addition, he exhibited his own paintings, but failed to break into the art market. Keating perceived the gallery system to be rotten, dominated by US-led "avant garde" fashion, with critics and dealers often conniving to line their own pockets at the expense both of naive collectors and impoverished artists. Keating retaliated by creating forgeries to fool the experts, hoping to destabilise the system. Keating planted 'time-bombs' in his products. He left clues of the paintings' true nature for fellow art restorers or conservators to find. Keating's own approach of choice in oil painting was a Venetian technique inspired by Titian's practice, though modified and fine-tuned along Dutch lines. The resultant paintings, though time-consuming to execute, have a richness and subtlety of colour and optical effect, variety of texture and depth of atmosphere unattainable in any other way. Unsurprisingly, his favourite artist was Rembrandt. Keating was finally arrested in 1977 and accused of conspiracy to defraud, but the case was dropped on account of his bad health. In 1982 - 1983 Keating presented television programmes on the techniques of old masters for Channel 4 in the UK and jointly wrote the book The Fake's Progress (Hutchinson, London, 1977) with Geraldine and Frank Norman. He died in 1984 at the age of 65. Even when he was alive, many art collectors among celebrities, such as the ex-heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper, begun to collect Keating's work. After his death in 1984, his paintings became increasingly valuable collectibles. Ironically, the same year Christie's auctioned 204 of them. The total amount raised is unknown but it is said to have been considerable. Even his known forgeries (described in catalogues as being "after" Gainsborough, Cézanne or Constable) now attain high prices.

Edward Brian Seago was born March 31,1910. He was a painter of landscapes, marines and flowers in an Impressionist style. He successfully exhibited his paintings in London, Glasgow, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Oslo and Brussels. In 1968 Seago acquired 'Ca Conca', a villa apartment in the elegant yachting resort of Porto Cervo on the Costa Smeralda, Sardinia. The terrace offered fine views of the harbor to the right. He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists from 1946, and of the Royal Watercolors Society from 1959. He exhibited in London, Glasgow, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Oslo and Brussels. He showed his first personal exhibition in London in 1944, and two years later presented paintings giving a narrative history of the Italian war. In 1957, still in London at Saint James Palace, Seago presented canvases he had realized during the world tour of the Duke of Edinburgh. Essential to a landscape artist, he remained faithful to an impressionistic atmosphere, attempting to capture the rapid touches from the shimmering of light, made to sometimes bathe together in a blur like that of Turner. He liked to translate English landscapes in parti...