Cameron Hayes

Elmyr de Hory, Fernand Legros and Real Lessard in the Republic of Poyais in 1969

Medium
oil on linen
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Elmyr de Hory was a prolific art forger. Art dealer Fernand Legros and his lover Real Lessard sold his forgeries. During the 1960s, they proved the fine art world was as brand gullible as any bunch of teenage girls in any suburban shopping mall.

In 1820, Gregor MacGregor made up a fake country called the Republic of Poyais. He opened offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London where he sold Poyais real estate and exchanged money for the Poyais dollars his mate printed for him. After months in a boat doing laps of Central America, the few Poyais investors who had survived realised there was no Poyais but refused to accept they’d been duped.

- Cameron Hayes, 2015