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De vervalser

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  3,334 Ratings  ·  362 Reviews
Tijdens de Duitse bezetting van Nederland heeft Han van Meegeren fortuin gemaakt met het vervalsen van 'verloren' Vermeers. Kunstverzamelaars, musea en critici waren blind voor de fouten die de werken bevatten en betaalden miljoenen guldens om een 'echte' Vermeer aan te kopen.
Met engelengeduld en zwier nam Van Meegeren wraak op de critici die zijn eigen werk niet wilden wa
Paperback, Knack True Crime, #5, 340 pages
Published 2010 by Uitgeverij Bert Bakker (first published June 24th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art Forgery Enthusiasts
"Yesterday this picture was worth millions of guilders, and experts and art lovers would come from all over the world and pay money to see it," he declared at his trial. "Today, it is worth nothing, and nobody would cross the street to see it for free. But the picture has not changed. What has?"

Van Meegeren presumably had an unflattering answer in mind. The picture had not changed, but it had lost its glamour. Why? Because the "experts and art lovers" were as fake as it was. The world was full o
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of art, Vermeer
Shelves: non-fiction
My review is going to be choppy, like this book. Yes, at times it was a fascinating read, but I think the author tried to cram too much information into one book. It was extensively researched and annotated, but jumped from subject to subject without much continuity.

It was part technical manual (forgery 101), biography, art history, art hoaxes, and WWII history (in particular the Nazi looting of Europe’s works of art). One good thing about this book was that it made me want to read several othe
Feb 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests, this book tells the story of the greatest art hoax of the 20th century, but it does more than that. In a choppy style (most chapters ran from 5 to 8 pages) we are introduced to a range of diverse areas of knowledge that indeed we should know something about to better appreciate the context and significance of this art hoax. There are several interesting asides along the way, popping in as footnotes--although for references to sources cited and direct quotes embedded in the ...more
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A big part of this narrative focused on the role psychology played in duping art experts; how Van Meegeren's forgeries seemed custom-made for the art experts that he fooled, as he appealed to "what they wanted to see" and thus could get away with painting mediocre works that still sold for millions. Similar thing with reviewing The Forger's Spell. I happen to be a sucker for art, history, psychology, and a yarn well spun, and so this book seemed custom-made for me. I know not everyone necessaril ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
what could have been a fascinating story, somewhat ruined by lengthy digressions. that the author includes a survey of 20th Century art forgery is no shocker. that he cites to stories out of Gladwell's 'Blink' and other psychological studies is somewhat less pleasing.

I would say that the proportion of story that relates to the title and the various ratholes needed to be reversed.
BreAnna Long
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initial thoughts on completion:
This was a really fascinating book. It combined several of my favorite subjects, and in some cases informed new interests - history in general, World War II, Nazis, art in general, Vermeer, Dutch painting, forensic analysis, psychological motivation, crime, and detective work. I feel like a much more rounded person having read this. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold and Dolnick did a great job of providing other examples and similar scenarios to explain
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Forger's Spell is the true story of Han van Meegeren, a not-so-great painter living in Holland during the Nazi occupation. What van Meegeren lacked in artistic talent, he more than made up for in his skills of psychology deception. When his own paintings couldn't sell, he turned to forging those of Johannes Vermeer (the Dutch painter of Girl with the Pearl Earring fame). He swindled over $30 million dollars from investors, much of it from German war criminals. Dolnick's book is a perfect mix ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
A choppy account of how Han van Meegeren duped art experts and Hermann Goering with his terrible Vermeer forgeries, this book would probably be more enjoyable for someone who doesn't know much about the Old Masters. The author approaches the topic in the form of article-like sections about occupied Holland, painting techniques used by forgers, the psychology of duping people into accepting forgeries, the biographies of the key figures, etc. The chronology becomes quite muddled and I also got the ...more
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"So primed are we to see what we want to see (and to reject what runs counter to our hopes and expectations) that psychologists and economists have coined an entire vocabulary to describe the ways we mislead ourselves. 'Conformation bias' is the broad heading. The idea is that we tell ourselves we are making decisions based on the evidence, though in fact we skew the results by grabbing up welcome news without a second glance while subjecting unpleasant facts to endless testing."
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Forger's Spell" by Edward Dolnick is a well told story about one of the most infamous art forgery cases of the 20th century. Han van Meegeren spent the duration of WW2 painting Vermeers; and what makes this case so fascinating - besides the big name artist he picked - was the way the critics fell head over heels for these forgeries, calling them Vermeer's best work. And if that wasn't enough, the story is made more intriguing by the fact that Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe and ...more
Nov 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ... copy-cats ....
Art theft and Art forgery go hand in glove, and both have always been of interest to me for some reason. Maybe it's the inherent sleight-of-hand in all the arts -- can you really paint a woman's face without daVinci coming to mind, can you really write a tragic play without thinking of the greeks ? For the moderns, this legerdemain was taken in stride, exalted even, by the time of say, Duchamp & Pablo P. But there was theft for art's sake and theft for theft's sake, and therein lies the tale ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3* of five

Here we have a non-fictional account of the 20th century's most astoundingly, resoundingly, and undeservedly successful art forgery scam.

In very, very brief, it's the story of a Dutch forger who cons Goering out of *boatloads* of cash for fake Vermeers. The book presents us with the fakes in a photo section. I simply cannot believe that anyone not completely blind and thus viewing these horribly hideous daubs in Braille could be taken in by them.

There are quite a few characters
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating story, both because of the events and because of the treatment.

Each of the many chapters could be read on its own, because each gives one aspect of the subject in depth while also reflecting the subject as a whole. The first impression might be that the author repeats himself a lot; but it is probably better to see this as a fractile approach, exploring each facet in relation to the others.

I was especially struck by the author's contention that contemporary forgeries tend t
Peter F
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the brilliantly ironic true story of a WWII-era art forger who could not paint. The title is a bit misguiding; the focus on the Nazis and World War II wanes in comparison to its emphasis on the tactics of art forgeries, the reality of peer pressure, the faux-credibility of connoisseurs and the story of Van Meegeren (the book's lovable Vermeer forger). Dolnick has an interesting way of piecing the story together, with chronology not necessarily the glue holding it together. It reads like ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this as much as I was hoping to. While billed as something of an adventure, I found the story itself to be bogged down with too many names, places, art history and psychological details that were disruptive to a smooth-flowing narrative. While the art hoax itself was great - including technical specifics about how one goes about forging 300-year old paintings - it really didn't come into play until the last 1/4 of the book. In my opinion, a much shorter book - or even a lengthy ma ...more
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All the back history to the scam was interesting and informative, but Dolnick adds all this material about how the scam actually works on the psyche of the victims and it just goes on forever and seems to repeat itself.
Rachel Metz
My book group read this one and was evenly divided between the do like/don't like. I found it quite interesting.
Jackie Harrison-jewell
Great topic, so it was quite disappointing to me how difficult it was to slog through the writing.
Mike Barnett
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story: Nazis, Vermeer, and forgery all tied together! Excellent!
Jun 24, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Famous art, a wily forger, nasty Nazis. What more could you want? LA Time gave this a very good review.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story deserves 4 stars...but, I was disappointed in Mr. Dolnick's style of writing, (it was a struggle to finish this book!).
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Book; now want to visit museums and see Vermeer's
This one took me FOREVER to read, but I loved every single minute. There is a lot interwoven here - some WWII history, the tale of competition in art collection among top Nazis, a lot about Vermeer himself and his contemporaries, and tons of the art and science of creating forgeries. I knew a little about this story – only as the tale of a man who outed himself as forger to avoid being prosecuted as Nazi collaborator (at worst) or sympathizer (at best). The actual story and how it all came out w ...more
David Ellis
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle, "A true story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the greatest art hoax of the Twentieth Century," suggests the strength and weakness of Dolnick's book. While it tends to be a bit choppy, leading the reader down many rabbit holes; those rabbit holes are fascinating.
The Forger's Tale is the story of one of the greatest - and most improbable - art frauds of the twentieth century. Han van Meegeren was a mediocre Dutch artist whose original artwork was panned by critics as shallow and insipid. After years of trying (and failing) to win recognition and respect with his own work, he decided instead to turn to forgery, and in the 1930s, he forged seven paintings by the great Dutch artist Vermeer, as well as paintings by ter Borch and Hals. Today, it's almost impo ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Han van Meegeren was a Dutchman who wanted to be a painter, but whatever he tried was unacceptable to the critics.
Then one day he decided to paint under another countryman's name -- Vermeer. His efforts with the new name were met with wild enthusiasm. van Meegeren found 17th century canvas and wood and went to great lengths to discover a method of "aging" his work -- even down to the nails and wood canvas supports-- so that it looked original. As this work was accepted, he engaged a middleman
Elisha Condie
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: so-interesting
This book was SO interesting! It's the true story of an artist who just wasn't that popular with his own work. So before and during WWII when the Nazis were famously stealing art from all over Europe, this artist paints a few Vermeer paintings and people fall for them absolutely. Goering buys one, as do some famous museums for MILLIONS of dollars. This book explains how a forger goes about reproducing a 17th century painting, how and why people fall for it. The funny thing is, the public (and my ...more
Read as part of my art forgery kick (also read Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger and The Art Forger; with a few others waiting in the wings).

All the forgery books mention this guy, whose forgeries were so convincing that he had to paint another in prison to convince people he hadn't sold real old masters to the Nazis. Except that, according to this book, they weren't that great. It includes reproduc
Sep 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book while picking up another from the library, and my eye caught Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring peeking out from the bottom left corner of the cover. I've never been able to avoid staring at that beautiful painting, wherever I see it, and that was all it took for me to add it to my reading list. Then, I found that there were actually quite a few books written about the forger who sold nearly $30 million (in today's dollars) of fake Dutch masters during the late 1930s and ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
  • I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger
  • Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece
  • Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa
  • Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art
  • Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World
  • The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
  • Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
  • The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures
  • The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II
  • Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art
  • The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
  • False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes
  • Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum
  • The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art
  • Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures
Edward Dolnick is an American writer, formerly a science writer at the Boston Globe. He has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post, among other publications. His books include Madness on the Couch : Blaming the Victim in the Heyday of Psychoanalysis (1998) and Down the Great Unknown : John Wesley Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy T ...more
More about Edward Dolnick...