Liu Qingwu doesn’t set out to commit a crime. He only wants to sell a painting—something more substantial than the Impressionist knockoffs he flogs to tourists outside New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the lucrative commission he receives from a Chelsea art dealer is more complicated than he initially realizes. Liu has been hired to create not an homage to Andrew Cantrell’s modernist masterpiece, Elegy, but a forgery that will sell for millions.

The painting will change the lives of everyone associated with it—Liu, a Chinese immigrant still reeling from his wife’s recent departure; Caroline, a gallery owner intent on saving her aunt’s legacy; Molly, her perceptive assistant; and Harold, a Taiwanese businessman with an ethical dilemma on his hands. Weaving together their stories with that of Cantrell and the inspiration for his masterpiece, Wendy Lee’s intricate, multilayered novel explores the unique fascination of great art and the lengths to which some are driven to create it—and to possess it.


“This is a sublime examination of what defines art, what gives art value, and the prices, far beyond the monetary, that we’re willing to pay to view it, admire it, acquire it, and even let it go. Through fragile alliances, flawed relationships, and capricious loyalties, Lee’s characters will lie, distort, betray, and ultimately accede to uneasy truths.” –Booklist

“This well-written mystery ponders the effects of one’s decisions in the face of moral quandaries while depicting a lesser-known slice of the New York art world. A captivating read for most fans of popular fiction.” –Library Journal

“Lee delves into what propels people to do the right or wrong thing and centers the book’s unique perspective on the creation of a forged painting. . . . As the story unfolds from different viewpoints, the author moves back and forth in time, bringing depth and understanding to what motivates people in both their personal and professional lives.” –Publishers Weekly

“Using a notorious art forgery case in New York City as a starting point, Wendy Lee spins her own fascinating take on how such a thing might come about. Told from multiple viewpoints—including the forger, the gallery owner who commissions the forgery, and the man who buys the painting—The Art of Confidence gives us a glimpse into each of their worlds, all full of intrigue and sadness.” –B. A. Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Muralist and The Art Forger 

The Art of Confidence is a gripping read, a swirling tale that weaves together the schemes and struggles of people touched by the murky, malleable question of value in art. No one is blameless, no one left unchanged when one woman manipulates the vicissitudes of the art world for her own good. Wendy Lee gives us an original, clear-eyed look behind the gallery windows and behind the studio walls, and you will be completely engaged.” –Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

With a cast of characters including a Taiwanese businessman, a young college dropout, a failed Chinese artist, and a desperate gallery owner, this enthralling novel examines the lengths we will go to to fight for what’s ours. Each setting, from Ridgewood, Queens, to Taipei, Taiwan, is convincingly rendered; each character is as genuine as an authenticated painting. Art’s creation and existence causes a ripple effect, reinforcing how closely we are all connected, and how much we depend upon these ties.” –Allison Amend, author of Enchanted Islands and A Nearly Perfect Copy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *