Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960

by William Boyd

£8.99

Fiction & Art

Paperback

9780241988879

Published by Penguin Books Ltd

Published August 2020

Books > Art > Fiction

The infamous literary hoax that fooled the art world

On January 8 1960, artist Nat Tate set out to burn his entire life’s work. Four days later he jumped off a Staten Island ferry, killing himself. His body was never found.

When William Boyd published his biography of Abstract Expressionist Nat Tate, tributes poured in from a whole host of artists and critics in the New York art world. They toasted the troubled genius in a Manhattan launch party attended by David Bowie and Gore Vidal.

But Nat Tate never existed. The book was a hoax.

Will Boyd’s biography of a fake artist is a brilliant probe into the politics of authenticity and reputation in the modern art scene. It is a playful and intelligent insight into the fascinating, often cryptic world of modern art.

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