Facts about Mark Landis
Mark Landis Biography
Mark Landis is a fake philanthropist who donates his own forged works of art to American museums, passing them off as originals. The son of a naval officer, he grew up in locations around the world and settled in the southeastern United States. His father died in 1972, and Landis had some sort of mental breakdown that led to hospitalization. He then studied art briefly in Chicago and San Francisco and held down odd jobs (and owned a gallery), and in the 1980s began donating works of art to museums — early on as a tribute to his late father. Landis successfully fooled dozens of museums across America, by forging works by lesser known artists (mostly of the 18th and 19th centuries), and by choosing museums without the means to fully investigate. Plus, he was giving them away, often in the guise of a Jesuit priest, so not many questions were asked. He was outed in 2008, thanks in part to the work of a museum registrar from Oklahoma (Matthew Leininger), but not charged with any crimes. Landis was profiled by The New Yorker magazine in 2013, and is the subject of the 2014 documentary Art and Craft.