Book Review: The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick
John Dorfman reviewed a new art thriller by Edward Dolnick in the August issue of Art & Antiques. The book, The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century, is the latest book to explore the colorful scandal left behind by 1930’s Dutch master forger Han Van Meegeren. He made the equivalent of $30 million with his fake Vermeers, fooling the best European art experts of the day, despite his less than perfect canvases. His genius was in psychological trickery, according to Dorfman, “he exploited the fact that art experts too often see with their ears instead of their eyes, and he had a very good grasp of the zeitgeist.”
Apparently, Van Meegeren was ridiculed as an overly sentimental painter before he started making forgeries, and he was on a mission to expose what he considered the 1930’s Dutch art establishment’s emperors new clothes attitude. Van Meegeren’s taste for luxury, prostitutes, and the bottle, combined with the high stakes world of art forgeries, makes for a riveting read.
Filed under: art forgeries, books, old masters | 6 Comments
Tags: Edward Dolnick, fake art, fake Vermeers, Han Van Meegeren, The Forger's Spell