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The Artful Forger


22 July 2019

A new book on New Zealand’s only convicted art forger, Karl Fedor Sim (aka Carl Fedor Goldie), not only tells the full story of Sim’s forgery activities before his trial, but makes public for the first time his extensive forgery exploits following his trial.

The Foxton second-hand dealer was convicted in 1986 of forging the works of Charles Goldie, Petrus van der Velden and Rita Angus.

While presenting a public facade of artist, fundraiser and media and service club darling following his trial, Sim and his associates continued to launch forgeries into the art markets in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, until shortly before Sim’s death in 2013.

The book confirms that Sim was behind the ‘Great Gauguin Hoax’, in which works of art purported to be by Paul Gauguin appeared in New Zealand in 1998. He also forged the works of dozens of other artists following his conviction, including Frances Hodgkins, Evelyn Page, Maud Burge and Colin McCahon.

Sim’s forgeries not only continued to go under the hammer at leading auction houses in New Zealand, including the International Art Centre and Peter Webb Galleries, but were put up for auction by prestigious auction houses in Australia and the United Kingdom, including Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London.

A Good Joke: The Life and Crimes of Notorious New Zealand Art Forger Karl Sim has been written by Dunedin journalist and historian Ian Dougherty, who is the author of 27 non-fiction books on New Zealand history, biography, culture and society.

Book details: A Good Joke: The Life and Crimes of Notorious New Zealand Art Forger Karl Sim, Ian Dougherty, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, July 2019, 240mm x 170mm, 228 pages, more than 200 colour and black and white images.

Blurb: A Good Joke tells the story of New Zealand's only convicted art forger, Karl Fedor Sim (aka Carl Fedor Goldie) and his associates, and provides an insight into the shady side of art dealing and the incompetent side of art expertise in New Zealand over the past five decades.
Price and Availability: The book retails for $45, including GST, and is available from all good bookshops, and directly from the publisher for $45 post free:

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