Book on World's Most Famous Forger by Jonathan Lopez

The Book on World's Most Famous Forger by Jonathan Lopez Published by Harcourt

The Lace Maker, a fake Vermeer purchased by Andrew Mellon in 1928, traced back to Han van Meegeren in The Man Who Made Vermeers. Imitator of Johannes Vermeer, The Lace Maker, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

NEW YORK.- The world’s most famous forger, Han van Meegeren, will be a popular man this fall—with not one but two biographies being published near-simultaneously.

The Man Who Made Vermeers is the only one of those two books based on deep primary source research, including interviews with descendants of Van Meegeren’s partners-in-crime, and the only one that reveals for the first time that two “Vermeers” donated by Andrew Mellon to the National Gallery in Washington (where they hung for years) were fakes painted by Van Meegeren himself, a shocking new discovery that will make art history. It’s also the only one not to simply repeat Van Meegeren’s self-mythologizing of his history, uncovering his decades of previously undocumented pre-WWII forgeries, and a disturbing and previously overlooked fascist influence in his paintings.

Jonathan Lopez dissects the story that made Dutch painter Han van Meegeren famous worldwide when it broke at the end of World War II: that a lifetime of artistic and personal disappointment had driven him to forge Vermeers, one of which he sold to Hermann Goering, making a mockery of the Nazis. In this suspenseful, vividly written account, Lopez exposes Van Meegeren as a “talented Mr. Ripley” armed with a paintbrush, and casts light on illicit art-world commerce, wartime collaboration, and pure, evil genius.

Jonathan Lopez’s writings on art and history appear frequently in Apollo: The International Magazine of the Arts, published in London. The Man Who Made Vermeers grew out of an article that originally appeared in Dutch in De Groene Amsterdammer. Lopez, who is fluent in Dutch, lives with his wife, an art historian and critic, in Manhattan.

— Daily Art

I find it absolutely amazing that this artists was able to fool so many with the skills he had aquired as a copyist. It's too bad that his own talent was not recognized to give him a chance to make an honest living. 

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