NEW YORK.- The worlds most famous forger, Han van Meegeren, will be a popular man this fallwith not one but two biographies being published near-simultaneously.
The Man Who Made Vermeers is the only one of those two books based on deep primary source research, including interviews with descendents of Van Meegerens partners-in-crime, and the only one that reveals for the first time that two Vermeers donated by Andrew Mellon to the National Gallery in Washington (where they hung for years) were fakes painted by Van Meegeren himself, a shocking new discovery that will make art history. Its also the only one not to simply repeat Van Meegerens self-mythologizing of his history, uncovering his decades of previously undocumented pre-WWII forgeries, and a disturbing and previously overlooked fascist influence in his paintings.
Jonathan Lopez dissects the story that made Dutch painter Han van Meegeren famous worldwide when it broke at the end of World War II: that a lifetime of artistic and personal disappointment had driven him to forge Vermeers, one of which he sold to Hermann Goering, making a mockery of the Nazis. In this suspenseful, vividly written account, Lopez exposes Van Meegeren as a talented Mr. Ripley armed with a paintbrush, and casts light on illicit art-world commerce, wartime collaboration, and pure, evil genius.
Jonathan Lopezs writings on art and history appear frequently in Apollo: The International Magazine of the Arts, published in London. The Man Who Made Vermeers grew out of an article that originally appeared in Dutch in De Groene Amsterdammer. Lopez, who is fluent in Dutch, lives with his wife, an art historian and critic, in Manhattan.