The Recognitions by William Gaddis
The story loosely follows the life of Wyatt Gwyon, a Calvinist minister's son from rural New England. He initially plans to follow his father into the ministry, but he leaves and travels to Europe to study painting. Out of frustration with his own career, a need for money, and a disregard for anything but perfecting his own skills, he takes on work as a forger, making copies of paintings that successfully pass for originals. Much of the story follows the lives of people around him, their own faithfulness to their ideals, and the roles of forgery or similar falsehoods in other parts of life.