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1 Beaverton Art- History and Criticism

This title in other editions

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century

by

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As riveting as a World War II thriller, The Forger's Spell is the true story of Johannes Vermeer and the small-time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him centuries later. The con man's mark was Hermann Goering, one of the most reviled leaders of Nazi Germany and a fanatic collector of art.

It was an almost perfect crime. For seven years a no-account painter named Han van Meegeren managed to pass off his paintings as those of one of the most beloved and admired artists who ever lived. But, as Edward Dolnick reveals, the reason for the forger's success was not his artistic skill. Van Meegeren was a mediocre artist. His true genius lay in psychological manipulation, and he came within inches of fooling both the Nazis and the world. Instead, he landed in an Amsterdam court on trial for his life.

ARTnews called Dolnick's previous book, the Edgar Award-winning The Rescue Artist, "the best book ever written on art crime." In The Forger's Spell, the stage is bigger, the stakes are higher, and the villains are blacker.

Review:

"Edgar-winner Dolnick (The Rescue Artist) delves into the extraordinary story of Han van Meegeren (1889 — 1947), who made a fortune in German-occupied Holland by forging paintings of the 17th-century Dutch painter Vermeer. The discovery of a 'new' Vermeer was just what the beleaguered Dutch needed to lift their spirits, and van Meegeren's Christ at Emmaus had already been bought by the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam in 1937 for $2.6 million. Collectors, critics and the public were blind to the clumsiness of this work and five other 'Vermeers' done by van Meegeren. Dolnick asks how everyone could have been fooled, and he answers with a fascinating analysis of the forger's technique and a perceptive discussion of van Meegeren's genius at manipulating people. Van Meegeren was unmasked in 1945 by one of his clients, Hermann Goering. Later accused of treason for collaboration, he saved himself from execution and even became a hero for having swindled Goering. Dolnick's compelling look at how a forger worked his magic leads to one sad conclusion: there will always be eager victims waiting to be duped. Illus. not seen by PW. (June 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

In Amsterdam at the close of World War II, a dapper little man named Han van Meegeren, a noted art dealer, faced a charge of collaboration with the Nazis. At issue was a painting by Johannes Vermeer that had found its way, with Van Meegeren's help, into the hands of Reich Marshall Hermann Goering, Hitler's second in command. If the court found him guilty, Van Meegeren faced a death sentence. For several... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Dolnick's zesty, incisive, and entertaining inquiry illuminates the hidden dimensions and explicates the far-reaching implications of this fascinating and provocative collision of art and ambition, deception and war." Booklist

Review:

"Forgery is interesting in part because it demands great, if imitative, skill, and in part because copying itself has become a significant aspect of contemporary art-making. It is an art-crime that encourages reflections on the nature of art itself. This book is an aid to such reflections." New York Times

Review:

"Energetic and authoritative." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Dolnick goes beyond the techniques of forgery to show how fakes succeed, and how the ability of the forger depends on the fallibility of experts." Rocky Mountain News

Book News Annotation:

Han van Meegeren's story is one of the footnotes to history. Before and during the Second World War, the Dutch painter sold a number of paintings by Vermeer to high Nazi officials, especially Herman Goering. The Dutch people considered him a collaborator. Then, after the war, it was discovered that the "Vermeers" were actually the work of van Meegeren. The man who had duped Goering became a national hero. Dolnick tells the story in an engaging manner, sympathetic to the artist and the art critics who were also fooled. He explains the genius of van Meegeren's choice of Vermeer and how he convinced the Nazis the works were genuine. This is a well-referenced work accessible to the general reader. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Edward Dolnick is the author of Down the Great Unknown, The Rescue Artist, and Madness on the Couch. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, he has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He lives with his wife near Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060825416
Subtitle:
A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Author:
Dolnick, Edward
Author:
by Edward Dolnick
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
History
Subject:
General
Subject:
History : General
Subject:
History - Modern (Late 19th Century to 1945)
Subject:
European
Subject:
Other Miscellaneous Crimes
Subject:
Meegeren, Han van
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20080624
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.17 in 20.72 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Forgery
Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century Used Hardcover
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$9.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Harper - English 9780060825416 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Edgar-winner Dolnick (The Rescue Artist) delves into the extraordinary story of Han van Meegeren (1889 — 1947), who made a fortune in German-occupied Holland by forging paintings of the 17th-century Dutch painter Vermeer. The discovery of a 'new' Vermeer was just what the beleaguered Dutch needed to lift their spirits, and van Meegeren's Christ at Emmaus had already been bought by the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam in 1937 for $2.6 million. Collectors, critics and the public were blind to the clumsiness of this work and five other 'Vermeers' done by van Meegeren. Dolnick asks how everyone could have been fooled, and he answers with a fascinating analysis of the forger's technique and a perceptive discussion of van Meegeren's genius at manipulating people. Van Meegeren was unmasked in 1945 by one of his clients, Hermann Goering. Later accused of treason for collaboration, he saved himself from execution and even became a hero for having swindled Goering. Dolnick's compelling look at how a forger worked his magic leads to one sad conclusion: there will always be eager victims waiting to be duped. Illus. not seen by PW. (June 24)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Dolnick's zesty, incisive, and entertaining inquiry illuminates the hidden dimensions and explicates the far-reaching implications of this fascinating and provocative collision of art and ambition, deception and war."
"Review" by , "Forgery is interesting in part because it demands great, if imitative, skill, and in part because copying itself has become a significant aspect of contemporary art-making. It is an art-crime that encourages reflections on the nature of art itself. This book is an aid to such reflections."
"Review" by , "Energetic and authoritative."
"Review" by , "Dolnick goes beyond the techniques of forgery to show how fakes succeed, and how the ability of the forger depends on the fallibility of experts."
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