Henricus van Meegeren was the most famous forger ever known. It seems that his speciality was to falsify Vermeer’s pieces of art. Just with his falsifications of Vermeer he got a great fortune: more than half a billion dollars in today’s currency! One of his best falsifications was the painting ‘Emmaus’, which was the finest Vermeer ever made (in the photograph below we can see Meegeren painting the Vermeer)
It was himself who declared to be the forger of the ‘Emmaus’ as well as of other pictures of Vermeer, and besides, of other great Old Masters’ pictures. For example, ‘The Witch of Haarlem’ of Frans Hals (both shown below, the original and the fake).
His fakes were of a great complexity and very well done. That is maybe the reason why he became the best forger of the history, becoming known overnight as ‘the man who swindled Goering’. Although the museums avoid him, he ha a lot of fans who like to collect his works, fakes, under his own name. Finally, Meergeren died in 1947, after serving a year’s sentence for forgery. “Before his trial Han van Meegeren demonstrated his forgery techniques before an expert panel by painting his last forgery Jesus among the Doctors.” (Wikipedia. Han Van Meergeren. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_van_Meegeren), see picture below.
It was a huge work for him to develop these techniques to being able to copy Vermeer’s pictures, precisely he deloped them throughout six years. Some of his fakes of Vermeer were Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, Woman with a Lute near a Window which he named Lady Reading Music and Lady Playng Music.
To know more about this fabulous painter and forger see:
- Wikipedia. Han van Meergeren. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_van_Meegeren
- The Meegeren website. http://www.meegeren.net/index.php
This has also been the websites used for this article.