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Nat Tate, American Artist

When you think about it, it is a little strange that a holiday like April Fools’ Day, observed in countries across the world, even exists. With it fast approaching, I considered dedicating this entire entry to history’s great April Fools’ pranks, but thought that one stood out as particularly interesting:

The launch party of David Bowie’s art-publishing house, 21, on April 1, 1998 featured Bowie reading from a biography of American Artist Nat Tate. It was written by author William Boyd and featured photographs of Tate and his works. Since Tate had burned 99% of his art shortly before he committed suicide, little was known about him and there were few remaining examples of his work.

Guests at the party were enthralled. Many claimed to have heard of him, some were familiar with his story and his works. The only problem with the story was that it was an elaborate hoax. Nat Tate never existed. The photos of him were actually photos of an unidentified man.

Nat Tate's work K. Photo courtesy of http://www.harpersbazaar.com

His few remaining works are considered highly collectible. This one sold in London for £7,250 ($11,358) in November of 2011. The strangest part of this story, is that the actual artist or artists who created Tate’s works are unknown. I suspect Boyd may have created them.

Photo courtesy of http://www.artdaily.com

“Facts” about Nat Tate:

~His name was created by combining the names of the National and the Tate galleries.

~He was friends with Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and many other artists.

~He was born in 1928, and jumped to his death from the Staten Island Ferry in early 1960.

This entry was published on March 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm. It’s filed under Art, People, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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