Top Art Books of 2008

vermeers

Named one of the Top Ten Books of 2008 (in art), Amazon has made a profoundly grand choice with “The Man Who Made Vermeers.” An intriguing tale that the New Yorker described as “a grand yarn of twisty deceit, involving prestigious dupes and scads of money, with a sensational trial at the finish.” What’s not to love?

“… a talented Mr. Ripley with a paintbrush.”

Hans van Meegeren became the most original of fakers when, starting in 1936, he put aside mere canny simulations, mostly of the work of Johannes Vermeer, to create wildly implausible pictures which were presented as discoveries of a missing phase in the artist’s conveniently spotty, little-documented opus. (You can see Han van Meegeren wearing an imperious scowl as he stands trial in 1947, next page.)

forger

REVIEW: Jonathan Lopez has done what no other writer could—tracking down primary sources in four countries and five languages to tell for the first time the real story of the world’s most famous forger. Neither unappreciated artist nor antifascist hero, Van Meegeren emerges in The Man Who Made Vermeers as an ingenious, dyed-in-the-wool crook—a talented Mr. Ripley armed with a paintbrush, who worked virtually his entire adult life making and selling fake Old Masters.

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~ by eaesthete on 12/17/08.

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