Book Review: The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez

The Man Who Made Vermeers tells the story of Han van Meegeren, the Dutch master forger. Author Jonathan Lopez tells the true story of van Meegeren’s career–a story that was suppressed and ignored for decades.

The van Meegeren legend stated that he turned to forgery because of disappointing feedback from art critics on his original work and that he then subsequently fooled the Nazis by selling one of his fake Vermeers to Hermann Goering. Both of these aspects of the legend caused van Meegeren to be cheered in post-WWII Holland, but especially the latter, for obvious reasons. However, the truth is much more sordid. Lopez reveals that van Meegeren was, in fact, a collaborationist, and his legend was a story concocted by both himself and the man who exposed him.

This book is a must-read for anyone with a fascination for art history. In addition to his crimes of being a Nazi sympathizer and master forger, van Meegeren attempted to rewrite history by inventing an entirely new period of work for Vermeer. With extensive endnotes and a select bibliography, it is evident that the author did his homework. Don’t let that put you off though! This book is anything but dry.

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One Response to Book Review: The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez

  1. eceldridge says:

    I’ve heard of van Meegeren before, and I have to say that his is an interesting story. I’ll keep this book in mind when I’m done with student teaching; there’s so much reading that I’d love to do.

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