I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jan 15, 2011 - Art - 288 pages
30 Reviews
Frank Wynne's remarkable book tells the story of Han van Meegeren, a paranoid, drug-addicted, second-rate painter whose Vermeer forgeries made him a secret superstar of the art world. During van Meegeren's heyday as a forger of Vermeers, he earned the equivalent of fifty million dollars, the acclaim of the world's press, and the satisfaction of swindling Hermann Göring himself, trading the Nazi commander one of his forgeries in exchange for the return of hundreds of looted Dutch paintings. But he was undone by his very success, thriving so noticeably during World War II that when it ended, he was arrested as a Nazi collaborator. His only defense was to admit that he himself had painted the Old Masters that had passed through his hands-a confession the public refused to believe, until, in a huge media event, the courts staged the public painting of what would be van Meegeren's last "Vermeer."
I Was Vermeer is a gripping real-life mystery that exposes the life and techniques of the consummate art forger; the fascinating work of the experts who try to track down the fakes; and the collusion and ego in the art establishment that, even today, allow forgery to thrive. Wry, amoral, and plotted like a thriller, it is the first major book in forty years on this astonishing episode in history.
Frank Wynne is a writer and award-winning literary translator. Born in Ireland, he has lived and worked in Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Buenos Aires, and currently lives in San José, Costa Rica. He has translated more than a dozen novels, among them the works of Michel Houellebecq, Frédéric Beigbeder, Pierre Mérot, and Ahmadou Kourouma. A journalist and broadcaster, he has written for the Sunday Times, the Independent, the Irish Times, Melody Maker, and Time Out.
 

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Review: I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger

User Review  - Anne - Goodreads

A very interesting and entertaining read. Recommended. Read full review

Review: I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger

User Review  - Kirsty - Goodreads

A fun, fast read. I'm now fascinated by forgers and their motivations, so do let me know if you have any recommendations. One of the best books I read in March. Read full review

All 8 reviews »

Contents

Introduction
1
Amsterdam 7 July 1945
10
A Portrait of the Forger as a Young Artist
19
The Lion Tamer
21
The Alchemy of Painting
28
The View of Delft
37
A Shadow of Divine Perfection
44
The Drinking Party
58
The Hobo Who Was Christ
114
A Question of Attribution
132
A Most Stupid and Malignant Race
146
Altercation with a Museum Guard
157
Gross HabitsNet Income
167
A Confederacy of Dunces
180
Accidental Hero 17 The Line of Least Reluctance
189
Glorys Small Change
200

A Careful Choice of Enemies
70
The Renaissance
81
The Forgers Art
83
The Price of Ultramarine
91
A Superior Picasso
96
The Plastic Virtues
105
A Dirigible Arbitrament
210
London 7 July 2004
231
Appendices
243
Bibliography
263
Index
269
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Frank Wynne is a writer and award-winning literary translator. Born in Ireland he has lived and worked in Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Buenos Aires and currently lives in San José, Costa Rica. He has translated more than a dozen major novels, among them the works of Michel Houellebecq, Frédéric Beigbeder, Pierre Mérot and the Ivorian novelist Ahmadou Kourouma. A journalist and broadcaster, he has written for the Sunday Times, the Independent, the Irish Times, Melody Maker, and Time Out.

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