Synopses & Reviews
It's a story that made Dutch painter Han van Meegeren famous worldwide when itand#160;broke at the end of World War II: A lifetime of disappointment droveand#160;him to forge Vermeers, one of which he sold to Hermann Goering inand#160;mockery of the Nazis. And it's a story that's been believed ever since.and#160;Too badand#160;it isn't true.
Jonathan Lopez has drawn on never-before-seen documents from dozens of archives to write a revelatory new biography of the worldand#8217;s most famous forger. Neither unappreciated artist nor antifascist hero, Van Meegeren emerges as an ingenious, dyed-in-the-wool crookand#151;a talented Mr. Ripley armed with a paintbrush. Lopez explores a network of illicit commerce that operated across Europe: Not only was Van Meegeren a key player in that high-stakes game in the 1920s and '30s, landing fakes with famous collectors such as Andrew Mellon, but he and his associates laterand#160;cashed in on the Nazi occupation.
The Man Who Made Vermeersand#160;is a long-overdue unvarnishing of Van Meegerenand#8217;s legend and a deliciously detailed story of deceit in the art world.
"In this engaging study, art historian Lopez examines as did Edward Dolnick's Forger's Spell, published in June the fascinating case of Han van Meegeren, a notorious Dutch art forger. Van Meegeren, who sold Hermann Goering a fake Vermeer, was convicted of collaboration; he became a folk hero for duping the Nazi leader. But according to Lopez, van Meegeren was a successful forger long before WWII, and contrary to van Meegeren's claim that he was avenging himself on the art critics who had scorned his own work, Lopez says he was motivated by financial gain and Nazi sympathies: 'What is a forger if not a closeted bermensch, an artist who secretly takes history itself for his canvas?' Lopez asks provocatively. The author gives a vivid portrait of the 1920s Hague, a stylish place of 'mischief and artifice' where van Meegeren learned his trade, and brilliantly examines the influence of Nazi Volksgeist imagery on van Meegeren's The Supper at Emmaus, part of his forged biblical Vermeer series. Lopez's writing is witty, crisp and vigorous, his research scrupulous and his pacing dynamic. 88 b&w photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE MAN WHO MADE VERMEERSand#160;"From the outrageous swindles he perpetrated in Vermeer's name to the nefarious dealings he had with the Nazis in occupied Holland, Han van Meegeren's is an unforgettable, almost unbelievable story. Witty, erudite, and utterly compelling, Jonathan Lopez's account of the twentieth century's most notorious art forger is a must-read--a book that makes Van Meegeren's fake Vermeers even more fascinating, I dare say, than the Delft master's originals."--Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
Jonathan Lopez recasts an anti-fascist folk hero as a Talented Mr. Ripley armed with a paintbrush in a new biography of a painter who famously forged Hermann Goering's Vermeer.
About the Author
JONATHAN LOPEZ's writings on art and history appear frequently in Apollo: The International Magazine of Art and Antiques, published in London. The Man Who Made Vermeers grew out of an article that originally appeared in Dutch in De Groene Amsterdammer. Lopez lives with his wife, an art historian and critic, in Manhattan
Table of Contents
Introduction and#149; A Liarand#8217;s Biography and#149; 1
Chapter One and#149; The Collaborator and#149; 11
Chapter Two and#149; Beautiful Nonsense and#149; 21
Chapter Three and#149; The Sphinx of Delft and#149; 52
Chapter Four and#149; Smoke and Mirrors and#149; 72
Chapter Five and#149; A Happy Hunting Ground and#149; 100
Chapter Six and#149; The Master Forger and the Fascist Dream and#149; 124
Chapter Seven and#149; Sieg Heil! and#149; 143
Chapter Eight and#149; Goering Gets a Vermeer and#149; 166
Chapter Nine and#149; The Endgame and#149; 186
Chapter Ten and#149; Swept Under the Rug and#149; 221
Epilogue and#149; Framing the Fake and#149; 243
Acknowledgments and#149; 249
Endnotes and#149; 257
Select Bibliography and#149; 295
Picture Credits and#149; 317
Index and#149; 323