by Ken Perenyi
For over 30 years, Ken Perenyi, beatnik, thief, and master forger, has been producing copies of paintings by American and British artists so accurate in every detail that they have been accepted as authentic and sold by major galleries and auction houses in both countries. The statute of limitations now having expired on any presumptive illegalities by Mr. Perenyi, he has decided to share his remarkable story with the world. The result is a breezy and unapologetic tour through the New York art scene of the late 1960s and 1970s, along with enough hair-raising tales to give any buyer of fine art pause before shelling out serious money for a painting.
As a teenager in Palisades Park, New Jersey, in the late 1960s, Ken was a slacker, an indifferent student whose only interest in painting was decorating the cars he painstakingly rebuilt to cruise the streets with his friends. A chance meeting with a group of hippie artists and low-level mobsters who lived in an old building nicknamed "The Castle" introduced him to an entirely different lifestyle. Along with thousands of his generation, he "tuned in, turned on, and dropped out."
His artist friends, horrified at his ignorance, began dragging him to museums and galleries, where he first became fascinated with the work of the artists he would later copy so successfully. From watching Daly paint, he learned that the creation of a work of art is a painstaking process, not some undefinable inspirational bolt from the blue. He was fascinated by the process, and for the first time in his life began to study seriously, although he never took a formal painting or design course. His indifferent degree from a third-rate trade school and the draft classification he managed to obtain––1Y (physically or psychologically unfit)––ensured that he was virtually unemployable for any meaningful work, so he more or less drifted into becoming a painter.
|Ken Perenyi after John Peto|
|Ken Perenyi after James Seymour|
|Ken Perenyi after Martin Johnson Heade|
|Representative Works by Ken Perenyi|