Bad Vermeers, great book

October 26th, 2008

In New York I recently met Jonathan Lopez whose The Man Who Made Vermeers has just been published. It is about the most colossal art forgery of all times: the fake Vermeer’s by Dutchman Han van Meegeren. Four years of intense research (Lopez is an artist himself and knows Dutch) and superlative writing skills gives new dimensions to a well-known story. Lopez reveals the master forger as an arch-opportunist, a cunning liar, and a fervent sympathizer of the fascist cause from as early as 1928. Deftly reconstructing an insidious network of illicit trade in the art market’s underworld, Lopez allows few reputations to emerge unscathed in this gripping incredibly readable book. Moreover, Lopez provides a plausable response to the question which all those who have taken up the case have tactfully avoided or inadequately addressed: how could the most renowned museum curators, art dealers and private collectors been taken by fakes which appear almost laughable today?

Even if you are like me and have until now turned a cold shoulder to the Van Meegeren story, the The Man Who Made Vermeers is a must-read. The L.A. Times book review says why.

Lopez will be speaking at the MET on November 14, 2008 , 6:00 pm. along with Walter Liedtke, curator of European painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lopez will be lecturing in other places too.

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