More than 100 forged artworks, copies of originals by the likes of Western artist Maynard Dixon, American artist Charles Courtney Curran, and French painter Paul Signac, have infiltrated at least 50 institutions as gifts in 20 states.
In 2008, a museum registrar raised doubts about an acquisition after his magnifying loop revealed the pixelated dots of a digital copy.
Two pieces that were given to the Oklahoma City Art Museum were also gifted to other institutions, adding to the suspicions of the registrar, Matthew Leininger.
Further research uncovered that the donor, named Mark Landis, although he used other aliases, was a prolific forger who gave many faked artworks to museums nationwide.
Landis has never been charged with a crime since he did not receive money or tax breaks for his donations.
In a recent twist, Landis is now featured in an exhibit titled "Faux Real" at the University of Cincinnati, with 40 of the pieces he donated to the institution on view.
“Faux Real” opened on April Fools' Day and runs through May 20, in the University of Cincinnati's Dorothy W. & C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery, at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.