From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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 Übermensch, 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.)
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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE MAN WHO MADE VERMEERS
"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