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THE AVANT/GARDE DIARIES: Mark Landis - Father Philanthropy

THE AVANT/GARDE DIARIES presents its latest extraordinaire — a curious master forger who also masquerades as a priestly philanthropist. Mark Landis is a 58-year-old American painter who is estimated to have successfully donated more than a hundred forged art pieces to museums as gifts. For nearly three decades, Landis has been donating his own copied works of obscure 19th-century American impressionists to small regional museums under the guise of an eccentric Jesuit priest who had inherited these paintings. Since he only approaches the small museums and has no apparent motive for forgery, they usually accept his offerings at face value. As such, the man is now responsible for the longest and most peculiar forgery spree the American art world has ever known–and it isn’t illegal because he’s not doing it for money.

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