Guy Hain France active c.1990), Brigido Lara Mexico active c.1980’s), Ferdinand Legros active, 1970’s), Real Lessard French Canadian 1939-), Claude Emile Schuffenecker France 1851- 1934), David Stein active c. 1970’s), Paul Desire Troullebert France 1829-1900), Geert Jan Jansen Netherlands 1944
ART FORGERY IN BOOKS
The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century
How we love stories of audacious con artists, and doesn’t Dolnick love to tell the tales. His art-theft chronicle, The Rescue Artist (2005), won an Edgar Award, and now he vividly portrays a staggeringly successful Dutch art forger. Han van Meegeren was a “dreadful” painter, and yet he managed to fake Vermeer, the most sublime of artists. Between 1938 and 1945, when Van Meegeren was caught, his Christ at Emmaus was “the most famous and the most admired Vermeer in the world.” Van Meegeren’s “Vermeers” are actually hideous and trite, yet this dapper, cunning, and patient man bamboozled top critics and museum directors and swindled the world’s most monstrous collector, the Nazi Hermann Göring. How to explain this mass delusion, the “forger’s spell”? Dolnick covers it all, from Van Meegeren’s technical brilliance to his shrewd choice of subject matter to his extraordinary manipulation of egos and perceptions. Dolnick’s zesty, incisive, and entertaining inquiry illuminates the hidden dimensions and explicates the far-reaching implications of this fascinating and provocative collision of art and ambition, deception and war.—Donna Seaman
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
A decade-long art scam that sullied the integrity of museum archives and experts alike is elegantly recounted by husband-and-wife journalists Salisbury and Sujo. In 1986, when struggling painter and single father John Myatt advertised copies of famous paintings, he never imagined he’d become a key player in one of Britain’s biggest art frauds. Myatt soon met John Drewe, who claimed to be a physicist and avid art collector. Soon Drewe, a silver-tongued con man, was passing off Myatt’s work as genuine, including paintings in the style of artists like Giacometti and Ben Nicholson. When buyers expressed concern about the works’ provenance, Drewe began the painstaking process of falsifying records of ownership. Posing as a benefactor, Drewe even planted false documents in the archives of London’s Tate Gallery, but suspicious historians and archivists eventually assisted Scotland Yard in bringing him to justice. Salisbury and Sujo (who died in 2008) evoke with flair the plush art world and its penetration by the seductive Drewe as well as the other players in this fascinating art drama.
Han van Meegeren: Les Disciples d’Emmaus