The Secret History of Art
Noah Charney on Art Crimes and Art Historical Mysteries

The Secret History of Art – Noah Charney on Art Crimes and Art Historical Mysteries

The Latest on Leonardo’s Lost “Battle”

In an extremely concise dispatch for Hemispheres magazine, the Secret History of Art writes the latest on the search for Leonardo’s lost “Battle of Anghiari” painting, hidden by Giorgio Vasari behind a false wall in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.  I’m at work on a big feature story bringing this up to date and correcting some major problems in reporting it that the world media got wrong, as well as breaking 5 new news points…  More to come, plus a fuller report on this in my forthcoming, co-written book (with Ingrid Rowland), THE COLLECTOR OF LIVES: GIORGIO VASARI AND THE INVENTION OF ART (Norton, November 2015)

2014: the Year Art Theft Went Pop

The following is an excerpt from The Secret History of Art’s regular column in The Journal of Art Crime, the only peer-reviewed academic journal on the interdisciplinary study of art crime.  To subscribe or for more information, visit:

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The Art of Sitcoms: You’ll Never Watch TV the Same Way Again

The Secret History of Art’s latest article is called “Cracking the Sitcom Code.”  Running in The Atlantic magazine, it looks at the art of writing a TV sitcom, which I had to learn when commissioned to write a Croatian comedy series.  Read this and you’ll never watch sitcoms the same way again.

Pimp My Submarine: Why Art Forgers Want to Get Caught

The Secret History of Art’s latest article in The Atlantic is about John D. Re, the recently-convicted art forger and submarine enthusiast.  According to my years of research, which went into my forthcoming book, THE ART OF FORGERY (Phaidon 2015), many of history’s most famous art forgers really wanted to get caught.  Here’s why.

“Home Alone” as Museum Security Masterclass

The Secret History of Art’s latest feature in Salon is about how the Christmas movie, “Home Alone” actually provides some useful lessons on how to secure your art collections.  Check it out here.

Art Forger Bought a Fake Submarine with Ill-Gotten Gains

Recently-convicted art forger, John Re, made around $2.5 million forging artists like de Kooning and Pollock, and bought what appears to be a “movie prop” submarine with the proceeds.  Too late to include in my forthcoming THE ART OF FORGERY book, but a crazy case nonetheless.  Not the best idea to engage in conspicuous consumption and buy a submarine with the fruits of your art forgeries…

The Greatest Skier in History

The Secret History of Art recently published an article on Tina Maze, the world’s greatest skier, male or female, who has just begun the latest World Cup ski season.  It ran in The Atlantic magazine, and if you’re not already watching the pro ski circuit, this is a good time to tune in, to see the Michael Jordan of the sport take on Lindsey Vonn and a bevvy of rivals…

Illustrated History of Forgery: a new book from Phaidon

The Secret History of Art’s next book will be released by Phaidon in May 2015.  Entitled THE ART OF FORGERY: CASE STUDIES IN DECEPTION, it is an illustrated history of forgery, focusing on art but dealing also with other fields, from wine to religious relics, and organized by motivation of past forgers.

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You Should Really Be Reading This: Kate Zambreno & Eimear McBride

The second entry in my new column for The Believer, “You Should Really Be Reading This,” is live. This month I interview the great Kate Zambreno, and we discuss her pick of the hidden-gem novel that we should all be reading: “A Cannibal and Melancholy Mourning” by Catherine Mavrikakis.

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10 Scariest Stories Ever Written

In honor of Halloween, the Secret History of Art is pleased to present a series of short essays on what I consider the scariest stories ever written.  These come from a project I did last year for the New Haven Review, in which I read thirty famous short stories in thirty days, to study the art form.  The theme of the stories I liked most was an atmosphere of what I call “creeping dread” that was present, whether or not the story in question really qualifies as a horror story.  But the result, the pleasurable tingle that we get from a good ghost story, was present in so many of them, that they can safely be considered among the scariest stories ever written, whether or not scaring the reader was the primary goal of the author.  Here is my personal list, with the added bonus of each title being linked to an essay of mine about the story, as it appeared in the New Haven Review.  Happy reading and happy Halloween! Continue Reading