The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Procuress: Fake or Mistake? Painting Featured in the Third Episode of BBC One's Fake or Fortune
Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), Procuress (after Dirck van Baburen), Circa 1940. Oil on canvas, height: 98.7 cm; width: 103.9 cm. Acquisition Webb, Geoffrey; gift; 1960 P.1960.XX.269. Copyright: The Samuel Courtauld Trust\unknown.

LONDON.- The Procuress, the painting featured in the third episode of BBC One's Fake or Fortune, went on view to the public at The Courtauld Gallery, London, on Monday 4 July 2011, the day after the television programme was broadcast.

In the late 1940s Geoffrey Webb, an officer responsible for the restitution of art seized by the Nazis in Germany and The Netherlands, was given a version of the 17th-century painter Dirck van Baburen’s The Procuress (the original painting, dated 1622, is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). The painting was assumed to be a fake. It had been found in France, in the house of the notorious forger Han van Meegeren (1889-1947). Van Meegeren specialised in forging paintings by Vermeer. He deceived many members of the art establishment and collectors, including the Nazi leader Herman Goering, before being unmasked in a sensational trial in Amsterdam in 1947.

The Procuress was of particular interest to Van Meegeren because Vermeer depicted Baburen’s composition in the background of two of his pictures (A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, circa 1670-72, London, The National Gallery, and The Concert, circa 1663-66, Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum [stolen]). Maria Thins, Vermeer’s mother-in-law, owned a painting of The Procuress by Baburen which hung in the house Vermeer shared with his family and mother-in-law in Delft. Her Baburen was probably that now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts but this painting was only rediscovered in 1949 in an English private collection, and was thus unknown to Van Meegeren.

Van Meegeren maintained that his wife had bought The Procuress in Marseilles and that it was genuine. However, when the painting came into Geoffrey Webb’s possession it was described as a forgery by Van Meegeren. Webb gave The Procuress to The Courtauld in 1960 as a painting by Van Meegeren (along with several drawings by the English baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor). He hoped it would be of use to students. Since then, it has been kept for study in the Department of Conservation and Technology. In the late 1970s, however, a researcher suggested the picture might be a 17th-century work.

This hypothesis was put to the test in the BBC programme Fake or Fortune. Technical research for this programme was undertaken by Dr Aviva Burnstock, Head of the Conservation and Technology Department at The Courtauld, and Dr Klaas Jan van den Berg of the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, The Netherlands. This confirmed that The Procuress was painted on an old canvas. X-radiography provided evidence that an earlier composition might have been scraped down before the current image of The Procuress was painted. However, analysis (using techniques unknown to earlier researchers) showed that the binding medium mixed with the pigment for the upper paint layers was Bakelite (a modern phenol formaldehyde resin). Van Meegeren is the only documented forger to have used this material, with which he mimicked the effects of aged oil paint. This proves that The Procuress is almost certainly by Van Meegeren.

It therefore seems likely that Van Meegeren’s produced this painting with the intention of claiming it was the version of Baburen’s The Procuress which Vermeer had known, and which is reproduced in two surviving paintings by Vermeer. As such it is a fascinating addition to Van Meegeren’s forgeries of Vermeer.

Today's News

July 7, 2011

Sotheby's Achieves Second Highest Price for Any Old Master Painting at Auction in London

Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London

San Francisco Police Make Arrest in Stolen Picasso Drawing from Weinstein Gallery

Sotheby's to Offer Spectacular Works by Leading International Designers at Sudeley Castle

The Procuress: Fake or Mistake? Painting Featured in the Third Episode of BBC One's Fake or Fortune

Peru Celebrates Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu's 100th Rediscovery Anniversary Amid Tourism Worries

Norman Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With" To Be Exhibited at The White House

Pinakothek der Moderne Presents Curvatureromance by the American Artist John Chamberlain

The Whitechapel Gallery's Major Summer Exhibition Presents Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 - 2010

Kunst Haus Wien Devotes Four Month Exhibition to Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Frida Kahlo's "Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird" at Ransom Center in Austin

London Street Photography Festival Launches Celebrating the Time-Honoured Genre

An Artist's Sense of Place: The World of Atta Kwami at Nicolas Krupp Gallery in Basel

New iPad App Lets Anyone Create Designs with Vintage Type and Art on a Virtual Hand-Driven Printing Press

Duped: Big California Gold Nugget Sold at Auction is Actually Australian and Worth Less

Pennsylvania Family Fights United States Treasury Over Rare 1933 Gold Coins

Sotheby's London Sells a Lost Royal Masterpiece Setting a Record at Auction

Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500 at the National Gallery in London

Idea Generation Gallery Presents Duffy: A Visual Record of the Photographic Genius

Spanish Government Honours Irish Museum of Modern Art Director Enrique Juncosa

The Courtauld Institute of Art Expands into the Arts of Asia with New Research Posts

Artist Dick Bruna Loans Large Selection of His Work to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

'Star Spangled Banner' Fragments Bring $65,000+ to Lead Heritage Auctions Arms & Militaria Sale

Galeri Manâ: A New Contemporary Art Space in Istanbul Opens with Idea-Driven Show

"Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels" Sets Attendance Record

Rome, Naples, Venice: Italian Masterworks from the BAM/PFA Collection

Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York Presents On Shuffle

Exhibition of Works that Use Everyday Domestic Objects Opens at David Zwirner

Royal Ontario Museum Displays World's Most Comprehensive Collection of Vesta Meteorites

Fitzgerald Collection of Regional Americana Donated to Library of Congress

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful