Museum plays April Fools' joke on prolific forger

LISA CORNWWELL Associated Press Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Fool me once, the saying goes. But 50 times? That's what a convincing art forger did for nearly three decades when he donated his copies of Picassos and other works of art to unsuspecting museums in 20 states.

Mark A. Landis has dressed as a Jesuit priest or posed as a wealthy donor driving up in a red Cadillac. But he apparently never took money for his forgeries and has never been arrested.

Now his "works" have been collected into their own tongue-in-cheek exhibit opening on April Fools' Day at the University of Cincinnati.

Mark Tullos of the Hilliard museum in Louisiana says educating people about forgery and letting people know about Landis "is the only way to stop him."

The Hilliard was duped in 2010 with a donation of a painting supposedly by American artist Charles Courtney Curran.

The exhibit runs from Sunday through May 20.