Museum Security Network

How a fake masterpiece ended up on walls of Florida museum

How a fake masterpiece ended up on walls of Florida museum

Mark Landis dressed in a faded black blazer, tucked a small, square piece of art into his black valise, and set off from Mississippi to meet with the directors of the Boca Museum of Art.

The museum was expecting a wealthy philanthropist.

Landis traveled by Greyhound bus.

When he arrived in Boca Raton that December of 2002, the senior curator at the time, Wendy Blazier, was eager to meet him. That summer, he had enticed her with a gift.

He sent a letter to the museum saying he had a rare drawing from the avant-garde French artist Marie Laurencin he wanted to donate. He listed several others he planned to give, including a work from Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, whose work is renowned the world over.

And then there was this: He didn’t want to be paid for the artwork. Didn’t even want a write-off for his taxes, which most donors demand. He simply wanted the piece hung in memory of his father, the late Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Landis Jr.

But why Boca, she’d asked him. What was his tie to the city?

“He said when he met me, he would reveal the connection,” Blazier recalls.

Blazier was used to eccentrics. But even by those standards, Landis is memorable 13 years later.

“It was such a strange and interesting encounter,” she said. “He was so odd.”

Read full report at: How a fake masterpiece ended up on walls of Florida museum

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