Elmyr de Hory

    Attributes

    • Male

    Galleries

    About the artist

    1906: Born in Budapest
    1976: Se suicidó en Ibiza poco después de recibir la noticia de que iba a ser juzgado por falsificación

    was a Hungarian-born painter and art forger who is said to have sold over a thousand forgeries to reputable art galleries all over the world. His forgeries garnered much celebrity from a Clifford Irving book, Fake, and from F for Fake (1974), a documentary essay film by Orson Welles.

    Most of the information regarding de Hory's early life comes from what he told American writer Clifford Irving, himself a fraudster, who wrote the first biography about him. Since Elmyr's success was reliant upon his skills of deception and invention, it would be difficult to take the facts that he told about his own life at face value, as Clifford Irving himself admitted. Elmyr claimed that he was born into an aristocratic family, that his father was an Austro-Hungarian ambassador and that his mother came from a family of bankers. However, subsequent investigation has suggested that Elmyr's childhood was, more likely, of an ordinary, middle class variety. His parents left him to the care of various governesses and were divorced when Elmyr was sixteen. *(Research done in 2011 by Mark Forgy, Colette Loll Marvin, Dr. Jeff Taylor, and Andrea Megyes dispelled some of the longstanding myths surrounding Elmyr, most notably definatively establishing his true identity from marriage and birth records at the Association of Jewish Communities in Budapest. He was born: Elemér Albert Hoffmann on April 14th, 1906. Both his parents were Jewish. His father's occupation was listed as "Wholesaler of handcrafted goods." Both his mother and brother were listed as holocaust survivors. Nor did his parents divorce when Elyr was sixteen as he asserted in the Clifford Irving biography. An updated account of de Hory's life appears in Mark Forgy's memoir, The Forger's Apprentice: Life with the World's Most Notorious Artist.)

    Elmyr moved to Budapest, Hungary to study. At 18, he joined the Akademie Heinmann art school in Munich, Germany to study classical painting. In 1926 he moved to Paris, and enrolled in the Académie la Grande Chaumière, where he studied under Fernand Léger and became accustomed to fine living.

    Shortly after his return to Hungary, he became involved with a British journalist and suspected spy. This friendship landed him in a Transylvanian prison for political dissidents in the Carpathian Mountains. During this time, de Hory befriended the prison camp officer by painting his portrait. Later, during the Second World War, de Hory was released.

    Within a year, de Hory was back in jail, this time imprisoned in a German concentration camp for being both a Jew and a homosexual (while his homosexuality was proven over time, investigation into his past has shown the likelihood that Elmyr was not Jewish, but instead was christened as a Calvinist). He was severely beaten and was transferred to a Berlin prison hospital, where he escaped and later slipped back into Hungary. It was there he learned that his parents had been killed and their estate confiscated. With his remaining money de Hory bribed his way back into France, where he tried to earn his living by painting.

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