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Man Who Made Vermeers

Genre: Art

Imprint: Mariner Books
EAN: 9780547350622

The unvarnished story of the world’s most famous art forger and Europe’s pre-WWII black market, told in “profoundly researched, focused, absorbing depth” (The New Yorker). Han van Meegeren became famous worldwide at the end of World War II as the struggling Dutch artist who forged Vermeers—one of which was sold to Hermann Goering in mockery of the Nazis. But as Jonathan Lopez unveils in this revelatory biography, Van Meegeren was neither an unappreciated artist nor antifascist hero. Instead, he emerges here as an ingenious crook who plied the forger’s trade with astonishing success—a sort of talented Mr. Ripley armed with a paintbrush. Drawing on never-before-seen documents from dozens of archives, Lopez explores a network of illicit commerce that operated across Europe in the 1920s and ’30s: Not only was Van Meegeren a key player in that high-stakes game, landing fakes with famous collectors such as Andrew Mellon, but he and his associates later cashed in on the Nazi occupation. The Man Who Made Vermeers is a long-overdue unraveling of Van Meegeren’s legend and a deliciously detailed story of deceit in the art world.