The story of the mysterious, charismatic art forger is examined in this slow-moving documentary.
Clifford Irving provides much of the backstory, although narration suggests he shouldn't be as trusted as one would hope considering his career.
Elmyr de Hory supposedly painted with Picasso and Matisse in Paris, and after being ignored by the art world for his own original work, focused instead on forging art and partying with celebrities. After gaining notoriety and facing punishment, de Hory attempted suicide with pills and cognac, supposedly dying at the hospital. Or did he, as it was rumored he fled, allegedly disappearing.
Featuring museum directors refusing to talk on the record, a brief examination of forgery techniques de Hory may have used, and awkward, silence-filled interviews with art professionals, former friends, business contacts, and celebrities, Masterpiece Or Forgery bores at times in spite of a charismatic and fascinating grifter at its center. There was a humorous moment when the film-makers were presented with a budgetary problem regarding a trip to South America, where they slyly insert stock footage of South America in lieu of an actual trip and acknowledge it as such.