3 out of 5: On a whim, Stan Lauryssens left his low-level job working in a Belgian cheese factory to become an art investment broker. Although he lacked any specialized knowledge or even interest in art, Lauryssens quickly became an expert at buying (and sometimes counterfeiting) paintings and drawings on the cheap and then selling them to foolish clients for millions. Lauryssens specialized in works by the painter Salvador Dali, who had reached celebrity status by the time of his death in 1989.
In this tell-all memoir, Lauryssens reveals the inner-workings of Dali's studio, including the significant contributions to paintings made by assistants and the rampant copying of prior artworks. According to Lauryssens, the Dali art market is rife with fraud, and only a small fraction of Dali works sold in the international art market are genuine.
Lauryssens's approaches his subject with refreshing honesty and fully recognizes his role in the fraudulent Dali market:
What about the Dalis I was selling as fast as lollipops? Perhaps they were lollipops: sweeteners to calm and satisfy MMC's ever-growing number of international clients. I was going through an inner crisis. Payback time would come; of that I was sure. When? Where? I couldn't know until I arrived, and even though it would be suicide, I tried to get there as fast as possible.
Dali & I is an entertaining romp through the corrupt world of high-end art.