FAUX Real: On the Trail of an Art Forger Part 2

picture: LSU University Art Museum

Mark Landis
Also known Aliases:
2009 – Steven Gardiner
2010 – Father Arthur Scott
2011 – Father James Brantley
2012 – Mark Lanois

Well, I mentioned at the end of part one of this blog that I had the complete story on Mark Landis… I should have said ‘incomplete’ as I am still tracking Landis to this day. It is amazing, to say the least, that I have put five years of my life thus far tracking this individual’s movements, but still have the gut feeling he is laying low on how he can restart his scam even though Landis told me he was going to stop. Yeah stop what he has been doing for the last thirty plus years? I thought this was the case when I found his third alias, Father James Brantley in 2011. This was shortly after the story was released by the Financial Times where he confessed to what he had been doing and how he had been doing ‘it’. I figured after reading the article (you can find the article on the internet) that he truly had been shopped and would stop… my quest was over… and Landis was done. It was not until February of 2012 that I received an inquiry from a development officer at Loyola University in New Orleans. This particular gentleman knew I had been tracking Landis over the years and he had some new news! Landis had approached Loyola, as he did ten years earlier as Mark Landis, now as Mark Lanois. I guess that Lanois must be French for Landis, right! I recorded this in my dossier and now I have four alias’ (I will talk about each in the upcoming parts).

So let’s back up before I get ahead of myself and get you all excited. On August 7, 2008, after finding something was not right with the gifts to Oklahoma City, I put out a call to my colleagues at other US institutions to see if anyone had a donor and gifts from Mark Landis. Within the first hour, I had over twenty inquiries via phone and email wanting to know what was going on. I shared my story with each one that I conversed and the stories were each the same. Landis had either sent a gift via FedEx or showed up in person promising more art and money for an endowment. Each institution gave him carte blanche in their museum shops, gave him dinner never to hear from him again. My favorite question I asked each one was… ‘did he mention he had a bad heart and was to have surgery?’. To my amazement the answer was yes! I guess he has been having heart surgery for over thirty years then, right? That was his ploy to why people may have wondered why he never resurfaced. Maybe the surgery didn’t go well or maybe he was in bad health. That was not the case. He used this as one of many reasons not to show up again… you know why? He used many tactics to keep himself under wraps even though I do not believe he felt he was doing anything wrong. But fraud is fraud and a forgery is a forgery. If you knowingly give something to someone else under a false pretence, then you are knowingly defrauding that individual. Plain and simple. You do not have to get money for what you do or scam or scheme or however you wish to eventually categorize Landis after reading my blog. Landis has knowingly been doing this for a long time and you know he knows, otherwise why would he change his name and appearance four times in five years? He knew someone had discovered him and has been tracking him… yeah me!

More in a few weeks and please feel free to contact me with questions or any comments. My contact information is on the authors page of Registrar Trek. Talk soon!

Matt

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