Van Meegeren’s Fake Vermeers
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
12 May – 22 August 2010
from the museum website:
The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents Van Meegeren’s Fake Vermeers, an exhibition of the famous forgeries of Han van Meegeren. Van Meegeren craftily exploited art historians’ desire to discover early works by Johannes Vermeer. During a famous court case in which Van Meegeren was accused of Nazi collaboration, he admitted that he had forged old master paintings, including several Vermeers. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen had acquired one of the fake Vermeer from Van Meegeren. The exhibition explores Van Meegeren’s technique, his masterpieces and his downfall.
Included are approximately ten forgeries by Van Meegeren most in the style of Vermeer, although there are some forgeries of Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch.
Van Meegeren’s life as a forger is further illuminated through a documentary film and objects from his studio.
Van Meegeren’s technique remains exceptional. For his masterpiece The Supper at Emmaus, Van Meegeren used a genuine seventeenth-century canvas and historical pigments. He bound the pigments with bakelite, which hardened when heated to produce a surface very similar to that of a seventeenth-century painting. This technique, combined with Van Meegeren’s choice of subject matter and composition, was an important factor in convincing so many people of the authenticity of his works. Van Meegeren created the missing link between Vermeer’s early and late works. The exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen sheds new light on Van Meegeren’s technique, resulting from new technical research undertaken by the Rijksmuseum.