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Forgeries

A  HISTORY OF COPIES AND FORGERIES
Cet article se compose de 20 pages.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
This painting had been sold back to Marshall Goering and such sale was to trigger off a major scandal after an officer of the Dutch Army was informed about this transaction in May 1945.

Suspected of being a collaborationist van Meegeren was arrested and jailed despite claiming he had had no pro-Nazi sympathies. He however admitted that he had painted the work sold to Goering and such disclosure disturbed specialists and those who had acquired those so-called rediscovered Vermeer paintings. Many among them could not believe van Meegeren especially as «The Pilgrims of Emmaus» and «Christ in the house of Martha and Mary» had been bought on the basis of opinions delivered by some important experts.

One thing is for sure, van Meegeren had acted out of revenge against Dutch art critics who had labelled him as a mediocre artist. He had closely studied the works of Vermeer and had found ways to produce perfect forgeries after determining what sort of colours and pigments the 17th Century Dutch master had used.

Van Meegeren was asked by Dutch justice to prove his claims and went on to paint a work similar to those he said he had produced. Such test was conclusive enough especially as during the course of their investigations Dutch police found that van Meegeren had also painted faked works attributed to Pieter de Hooch, Ter Borch or Frans Hals.

Van Meegeren was sentenced to a one-year prison term on October 12th 1947 but died of a heart attack less than three weeks later.

His fakes were analysed with great care and it was found that he had painted them on 17th Century paintings that he had rubbed off, the traces of which were discovered via X rays under the scenes he had produced. However, the most important indication proving the forgeries was that van Meegeren had used synthetic resins to produce these.

Still, Dr Van Beuningen, a Dutch collector, seized a court in 1952 to defend his view that the «Pilgrims of Emmaus» belonging to the Boymans museum and «The Last Supper», which he had acquired in 1941 were authentic Vermeer works.

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