The Forger's Spell. Edward Dolnick

A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax

of the Twentieth Century

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The Forger's Spell


PREFACE
A NOTE TO THE READER
This is the true story of a colossal hoax. The con man was the most successful art forger of the twentieth century, his most prominent victim the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany. The time was World War II. The place, occupied Holland.
Everything about the case was larger than life. The sums that changed hands soared into the millions; the artist who inspired that frenzy of buying was one of the best-loved painters who ever lived, Johannes Vermeer; the collectors vying for masterpieces included both Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering.
But the outsize scale and the extravagant color were only the beginning. The story differs in key ways from most true tales of crime. Usually we are presented with a crime, and we set out to find the criminal. Here, no one even knew that a crime had been committed.
Where there was no crime, it stood to reason there was no criminal. For a villain who craved recognition, that made for a vicious dilemma. Keep his crime secret, and he would live rich and safe but unknown. Confess what he had done, on the other hand, and though he would find himself condemned to a prison cell, his genius would be proclaimed worldwide.
A second, even stranger feature made this case of art fraud different from any other. What made the fraud succeed was the very thing that should instantly have revealed it.
In this mystery, then, the usual questions do not apply. For us, the central question is not whodunit but, instead, howdunit?

About the Author
EDWA RD DOLNICK is the author of Down the Great Unknown, The Rescue Artist, and Madness on the Couch. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, he has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. 
He lives with his wife near Washington, D.C.

NOTES
Sources for quotations and for assertions that might prove elusive can be found below. 
To keep these notes in bounds, I have not documented facts that can be readily checked in standard sources.
CHAPTER ONE: A KNOCK ON THE DOOR 
3 The grandeur of 321 Keizersgracht . . . Fredrik Kreuger, De Arrestatie van een meestervervalser, pp. 96–97. (The title means The Arrest of a Master Forger.)
3 The front hall was . . . The bicycle story featured regularly in news stories about Van Meegeren. See, for instance, “One Vermeer After Another: A Forger of Genius,” De Nieuwe Dag, July 18, 1945, or “Master Hoaxer,” Newsweek, Sept. 10, 1945. Van Meegeren’s home is today the headquarters of the Association of Dutch Architects, which takes a natural interest in the building’s past uses; the building’s offi ce manager debunked the bicycling story and confirmed the skating one.
4 Joop Piller . . . My description of Piller is based on Harry van Wijnen’s account in his Han van Meegeren en Zijn Meesterwerk van Vermeer (with co- author Diederik Kraaijpoel) and on my interviews with Van Wijnen. For many years a personal friend of Piller, Van Wijnen is a contributing editor at NRC Handelsblad and a professor at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He is also the author of a biography of D. G. van Beuningen, a major player in the Van Meegeren saga. See Harry van Wijnen, Grootvorst aan de Maas: D.
G. van Beuningen. (The title means Monarch on the [river] Maas). 
4 He had brought his guitar . . . “One Vermeer After Another.”
CHAPTER TWO: LOOTED ART
6 “roof rabbit” . . . Walter B. Maass, The Netherlands at War: 1940–1945, p. 210.
7 “I love art” . . . Leon Goldensohn, The Nuremberg Interviews, p. 129.
7 “I intend to plunder” . . . Robert M. Edsel, Rescuing da Vinci, p. 105.
7 “At the current moment” . . . Hector Feliciano, The Lost Museum, p. 38.
7 This was the most valuable . . . David Irving, Göring, p. 305. Irving is an unpleasant character
and a bigot who contends that Auschwitz was merely “a labor camp with an unfortunately high death rate.” Nonetheless, such eminent historians as John Keegan and Gordon Craig call Irving’s work “indispensable.” Irving is both a propagandist for ugly views and a formidable researcher. The quotations I have drawn from his biography are not controversial and are well documented in his notes. For more on the debate over Irving’s scholarship, see D. D. Guttenplan’s “Taking a Holocaust Skeptic

notes to pages 7 –16
Seriously,” New York Times, June 26, 1999. Deborah Lipstadt’s History on Trial tells of her courtroom victory over Irving. She called him a Holocaust denier; he sued for libel and lost. Gordon Craig reviewed Göring and several other books on the Nazis in The New York Review of Books, February 2, 1989. In the “ hunger winter” . . . Louis de Jong, The Netherlands and Nazi Germany, p. 47.
CHAPTER THREE: THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
9 On the evening of May 9 . . . “Low Countries Attacked,” New York Times, May 12, 1940.
9 Elsewhere in Berlin . . . This account is based on Maass, pp. 28–29, Werner Warmbrunn,
The Dutch Under German Occupation, pp. 6–7, and Peter Voute, Only a Free Man, pp. 21–22.
9 It was not to be . . . Maass, pp. 28–29, and Voute, p. 22.
10 In the months before . . . Voute, p. 21.
11 “They hoped,” in the words . . . Maass, p. 16.
11 “The planes are searching” . . . Ibid., p. 39.
11 “Let my air force darken” . . . David Irving, p. 289.
11 “Curator of the Reich” . . . Ibid., p. 300.
11 “Behind us,” Churchill told . . . Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939 to 1941 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983) p. 365.
12 “En glish fathers, sailing to rescue” . . . William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer
Churchill, Visions of Glory (Boston: Little, Brown, 1983), p. 3.
12 “List of Pictures Delivered” . . . David Irving, p. 291.
12 This time the lure . . . Lynn Nicholas tells Goudstikker’s story in her superlative The Rape of
Europa. See pp. 83–85. For specifics on Goudstikker’s notebook, see Alan Riding’s
“Dutch to Return Art Seized by Nazis,” in New York Times, Feb. 7, 2006, and his “Goering,
Rembrandt, and the Little Black Book,” in New York Times, March 26, 2006.
13 Exactly what deals . . . Nicholas, p. 106.
13 “A few months after Goudstikker’s death” . . . Jacob Presser, Ashes in the Wind, p. 9.
CHAPTER FOUR: QUASIMODO
14 One of Van Meegeren’s paintings . . . Marijke van den Brandhof, Een vroege Vermeer uit 1937, p.
155. (The title means An Early Vermeer from 1937.) This admirable book, which was a doctoral thesis published in 1979, broke considerable new ground, especially on Van Meegeren’s own artistic career and on his Nazi sympathies.
15 “Here and there one finds” . . . Van den Brandhof.
15 “a unique, fluent way of painting” . . . Ibid.
15 “art Bolsheviks” . . . Jonathan Lopez, “De Meestervervalser en de fascistische droom,” De Groene Amsterdammer, Sept. 29, 2006. (The title means “The Master Forger and the Fascist Dream.”)
15 “Revenge keeps its colour” . . . John Russell, “Revenge Keeps Its Colour,” Sunday Times [of London], Oct. 23, 1955.
16 “ heavy- lidded eyes” . . . M. Kirby Talley, Jr., “Van Meegeren’s Fake ‘Vermeers,’ ” in Mark Jones, ed., Fake? The Art of Deception, p. 240.
16 Van Meegeren was a genius . . . Endless examples could be supplied. P. B. Coremans, the scientist who led the government team appointed to investigate Van Meegeren’s forgeries, wrote that “Van Meegeren was indisputably the greatest forger of all times.” See Van Meegeren’s Faked Vermeers and De Hooghs, p. 26. The title of Kilbracken’s biography was Van
notes to pages 16–24
Meegeren: Master Forger, that of Frederik Kreuger’s biography the virtually identical Han
van Meegeren: Meestervervalser.
16 “especially beautiful” . . . M. M. van Dantzig, Vermeer: De Emmausgangers en de critici (Vermeer: “Christ at Emmaus,” and the Critics).
16 “serene” . . . Sandra Weerdenburg, De Emmausgangers: een omslag in waardering, Utrecht, 1988.
(The title means Christ at Emmaus: A Reversal in Appreciation.) Chapter 2 of this exemplary
Ph.D. thesis contains dozens of similar hymns of praise to Christ at Emmaus.
16 “exalted” . . . Abraham Bredius, “Nog een word over Vermeer’s Emmausgangers,”
Oud Holland 55, 1938. (The title means “Another Word About Vermeer’s Christ at
Emmaus.”)
16 “Why was there never again” . . . Ibid.
16 “After Van Meegeren’s exposure” . . . Jones, p. 15
CHAPTER FIVE: THE END OF FORGERY?
19 “If you gave one of them” . . . David Maurer, The Big Con, p. 258.
19 “With old master paintings” . . . Milton Esterow, “Fakes, Frauds, and Fake Fakers,” Art News,
June 2005, p. 100. 19 “Nobody bothers to take” . . . Thomas Hoving, author interview, Nov. 16, 2005. 19 We turn to science . . . The same is true in many fields besides art. The journalist Malcolm
Gladwell cites mammograms as a notable example. We employ state-of-the-art X-ray technology in the hope of certainty only to find that the hunt for breast tumors demands one educated guess after another. See Malcolm Gladwell, “The Picture Problem,” The New Yorker, Dec. 13, 2004.
19 On the basis of stylistic . . . Anthony Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p. 40. 20 Unless you find something . . . Hoving interview. All the quotations from Hoving in the rest of this chapter are from this interview. 20 Anthony Bailey tells the story . . . Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p.39.
CHAPTER SIX: FORGERY 101
22 Christopher Wright, a distinguished . . . Author interview, Nov. 8, 2005.
23 “Let the paper choose” . . . Eric Hebborn, The Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 39.
23 Tom Keating, a sloppy . . . Frank Geraldine and Norman Norman, The Fake’s Progress, p. 241.
23 Elmyr de Hory . . . Clifford Irving, Fake! p. 72.
23 He claimed he once . . . Ibid., p. 62.
23 Thomas Hoving says . . . Hoving made his comment in a review of Hebborn’s Art Forger’s
Handbook. See “Sleight of a Master’s Hand,” The Times [of London], Jan. 23, 1997. 23 Could it really be true . . . Eric Hebborn, Drawn to Trouble, p. 73. 23 He had sold upward . . . Hebborn refers to “500 pictures” on p. 364 of Drawn to Trouble, and
to the Met and the National Gallery on p. 362 of the same book. 24 “frightening talent” . . . Hoving, “Sleight.” 24 Hebborn’s solution . . . Hebborn, Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 15. 24 “When the ink was dry” . . . Norman and Norman, p. 84. 24 “He also copied drawings” . . . Quoted in Hebborn, Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 49. The passage
is near the beginning of Vasari’s chapter on Michelangelo. 24 The forger David Stein . . . Anne- Marie Stein, Three Picassos Before Breakfast, p. 122. 24 To produce a drawing . . . Hebborn, Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 49.
notes to pages 25–35
25 Add a few flakes . . . Hebborn, Drawn to Trouble, p. 295.
25 “It is rather like frying” . . . Hebborn, Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 51.
25 “The likelihood of catching” . . . Stein, p. 46.
25 “accessible artists” . . . Hebborn, Art Forger’s Handbook, p. 46.
CHAPTER SEVEN: OCCUPIED HOLLAND
26 “The man on the street” . . . Maass, p. 43.
27 “The Dutchman’s character” . . . Louis Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries, p. 110.
27 “As everybody knows” . . . Ibid., p. 494.
27 IQ tests at Nuremberg . . . Leonard Mosley, The Reich Marshal, p. 399.
27 “as far as possible” . . . Maass, p. 48.
27 “gingerbread with whippings” . . . Lochner, ed., p. 485.
27 “If you tried to escape” . . . De Jong, Netherlands and Nazi Germany, p. 19.
28 Only two hundred Dutchmen . . . Maass, p. 69.
28 “Probably no other country” . . . Ibid., p. 68.
28 “Every tradition of conspiracy” . . . Ibid., p. 70.
29 No one had thought . . . Ibid., p. 71.
29 “They had spent their whole lives” . . . Bob Moore, Victims and Survivors: The Nazi Persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands, 1940–1945, p. 195.
29 Failure to produce . . . Maass, p. 71.
29 This was no mere . . . Presser, p. 39.
29 “Although undoubtedly pro-German” . . . Moore, p. 198.
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE WAR AGAINST THE JEWS
30 “a little prayerful” . . . Quoted in Moore, p. 44.
30 Before the war . . . De Jong, Netherlands and Nazi Germany, p. 20.
30 The comparable figure . . . Moore, p. 2.
30 “I have now been here four” . . . Ibid., p. 16.
31 “Tens of thousands” . . . Ibid., p. 17.
31 The blows directed . . . The dates in this paragraph come from Presser, pp. 31, 65, 68, 77, 83, 115, 120, 131. The dates in the following paragraph come from Presser, pp. 129, 130.
31 “countless friends and acquaintances” . . . Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, p. 69.
31 By the end of September . . . Presser, pp. 184–89, 214.
32 After two days, the SS . . . Maass, p. 65.
32 “This strike,” Louis de Jong . . . De Jong, Netherlands and Nazi Germany, p. 8.
32 “One felt sorry” . . . Quoted in Presser, p. 325.
CHAPTER NINE: THE FORGER’S CHALLENGE
34 The acclaimed Elmyr de Hory . . . Clifford Irving, Fake!, p. 90.
34 In 1931, according to . . . Russell, “Revenge Keeps Its Colour.”
34 Solving it took him almost . . . Hope Werness, “Han van Meegeren fecit,” p. 23. In Denis Dutton, ed., The Forger’s Art. Werness’s essay is one of the essential documents on Van Meegeren in English.
34 Dishonest apothecaries . . . Philip Ball, Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, p. 77.
34 Some forgers have been . . . Esterow, “Fakes, Frauds.”
35 It takes somewhere between . . . Leo Stevenson, personal communication, Nov. 8, 2005.
notes to pages 35–45
35 an English painter named Leo Stevenson . . . Author interview, Nov. 7, 2005.
36 The particles in hand-ground . . . Richard Harris, “The Forgery of Art,” The New Yorker, Sept.
16, 1961, p. 140. 36 Until the advent . . . Ball, p. 180. 36 “a stone table” . . . P.T.A. Swillens, Johannes Vermeer, p. 129. 36 In Vermeer’s day . . . Ibid., p. 126. 36 lapis lazuli . . . Ball, pp. 92, 236. 
36 Next came the grinding . . . Swillens, p. 122, and Ball, p. 237. 36 In addition to freeing . . . Ibid., p. 180. 37 “More than with any other” . . . Jan Veth, quoted in “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” in Arthur Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 168.
37 Every color called . . . Swillens, p. 127.
37 Van Meegeren labored away . . . Van den Brandhof, p. 94.
37 “I saw a splendid” . . . Marie Doudart de la Grée, Geen standbeeld voor Han van Meegeren, p. 30. (The title means No Statue for Van Meegeren.)
37 “Never believe Van Meegeren!” . . . Kraaijpoel, personal communication, April 2, 2006.
38 He may have left . . . See Koos Levy-Van Halm, “Where Did Vermeer Buy His Painting Materials? Theory and Practice,” in Ivan Gaskell and Michiel Jonker, eds., Vermeer
Studies, p. 141. 38 “He was the Edison” . . . Quoted in Harris, “The Forgery of Art,” p. 141. 38 Before Edison came up . . . Francis Arthur Jones, Thomas Alva Edison: Sixty Years of an Inventor’s 
Life, Boston: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1908, p. 252. 39 To make a pound . . . “Leo Baekeland and Wallace Carothers: Maestros of Molecules,” US News and World Report, Aug. 17, 1998. 39 “from the time that a man” . . . Time, Sept. 22, 1924.
CHAPTER TEN: BARGAINING WITH VULTURES
40 On October 1, 1944 . . . The Dutch Resistance Museum, p. 115.
40 So many moving vans . . . Presser, pp. 364, 369.
40 Prices on the black market . . . Warmbrunn, p. 80.
40 When night fell . . . Henri van der Zee, The Hunger Winter: Occupied Holland, p. 153, and Maass, p. 209.
40 To rig a battery . . . De Jong, “Life in Occupied Holland,” p. 29.
41 “Dutch girls,” historian Walter Maass records . . . Maass, pp. 208–10.
41 “Beautiful old houses” . . . De Jong, “Life in Occupied Holland,” p. 29.
41 “Along the roads” . . . Ibid.
41 “endless road behind Hoorn” . . . Maass, p. 212.
41 “there was no reason to forgo” . . . Nicholas, p. 101.
42 “Art soon became” . . . Ibid., p. 103.
42 In his role as middleman . . . Janet Flanner, Men and Monuments, p. 230.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: VAN MEEGEREN’S TEARS
44 Two painters made especially . . . This account is based on a superb essay by Arthur Wheelock, a Vermeer scholar at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. See “The Story of Two Vermeer Forgeries,” in Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive.
45 Perhaps it was Wright . . . Arthur Wheelock says this was the suggestion of the late Vermeer scholar A. B. de Vries. Wheelock, “Two Vermeer Forgeries,” p. 274.
notes to pages 45–56
45 “a little zero” . . . Van den Brandhof.
45 Rol had the talent . . . Author interview, Dec. 19, 2005.
46 Even today, in an upstairs room . . . Frederik Kreuger, Han van Meegeren: Meestervervalser, p. 73.
46 “by chance, in an old book” . . . Oct. 22, 1945, Het Binnenhof.
46 Van Meegeren may have reasoned . . . Leo Stevenson, personal communication, June 26, 2006.
46 “On my way home” . . . Doudart de la Grée, p. 56.
46 The oils have a heavy . . . Doudart de la Grée, p. 48.
47 “Bakelite is a solid” . . . Diederik Kraaijpoel and Harry van Wijnen, Han van Meegeren en Zijn Meesterwerk van Vermeer, p. 40.
CHAPTER TWELVE: HERMANN GOERING
51 “By the liberation of Paris” . . . Hector Feliciano, The Lost Museum, p. 4.
51 Over the course of the war’s five years . . . Ibid., p. 16.
51 “This is for me alone” . . . Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, p. 214.
52 “at least a yard across” . . . David Irving, p. 161.
52 “In his personal appearance” . . . Schacht, Testimony at Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, May
3, 1946 (online at www .nizkor .org/ hweb/ imt/ tgmwc/ tgmwc -13/ ) 52 He favored uniforms . . . Nicholas, p. 35, and Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, p. 78. 52 He wore so many medals . . . Rudolph Herzog includes this joke in Heil Hitler, Das Schwein ist
Tot: Lachen unter Hitler—Komik und Humor im Dritten Reich. (The book is a study of humor in the Third Reich. The title means Heil Hitler, The Pig is Dead!, which was the punch line of a joke.)
52 “animated flea” . . . David Irving, p. 172.
52 Goering liked jewelry . . . Fest, p. 328.
52 Germanic Robin Hood . . . Ibid., p. 78.
53 “He obviously would have loved” . . . Rudolf Diels, quoted in ibid., p. 329.
53 “My flyers are no projectionists” . . . Ibid.
53 “I felt,” Wagener wrote . . . Henry A. Turner, Jr., ed., Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant, pp. 117–19.
53 Of his eight houses . . . Nicholas, p. 36.
53 “carved French cupids” . . . Flanner, p. 245.
54 Every design decision . . . David Irving, p. 136.
54 Under a soaring dome . . . Kenneth Alford, Great Treasure Stories of World War II, p. 26 (Mason City, Iowa: Savas, 2000). 54 model railroad . . . David Irving, p. 217. 54 “After all, I am a Renaissance man” . . . Fest, p. 71, and David Irving, p. 324. 54 “Goering is by no means” . . .Mosley, p. 390.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: ADOLF HITLER
55 Whenever someone on Hitler’s staff . . . Fest, p. 75.
55 “Adolf Hitler is my conscience” . . . Ibid.
55 “How shall I say, my Fuehrer” . . . G. M. Gilbert, “Hermann Goering: Amiable Psychopath,”
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 43, no. 2 (April 1948), p. 221. 55 “the picture war” . . . Speer, p. 213. 56 “a man of many parts” . . . Goldensohn, p. 106. 56 Hitler, on the other hand . . . Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Esthetics, pp. 7–8.
notes to pages 56–65
56 Twice he applied . . . Ibid. pp. 123–25.
56 In Vienna shortly before . . . Ibid., pp. 127–28.
56 “After being appointed chancellor” . . . Ibid., p. xi.
56 The day after . . . Ibid., p. 385.
56 Long after his world. . . . Ibid., p. xi. This anecdote, with a photograph of Hitler raptly contemplating his model, serves as the opening of Spotts’s compelling book.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: CHASING VERMEER
57 “an opportunity never before offered” . . . Spotts, p. 191.
57 “only the best” . . . Ibid., p. 187.
58 “not up to the level” . . . Feliciano, p. 22.
58 He died without a penny . . . Albert Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 163, and Anthony Bailey,
Vermeer: A View of Delft, p. 134.
58 Vermeer “may have given himself ” . . . Kenneth Clark, Looking at Pictures, p. 104.
58 The art historian Willem van de Watering . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 163.
59 “the heavy oak table” . . . Norbert Schneider, Vermeer: The Complete Paintings, p. 82.
59 “doubt or disbelief ” . . . Ivan Gaskell, Vermeer’s Wager, p. 40.
59 Vermeer’s own wife . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 163.
59 “No other work so flawlessly” . . . Ibid., p. 49.
60 At that time and for decades . . . Ibid., p. 163.
60 Duveen and the American tycoon Andrew Mellon . . . Nicholas, p. 47.
60 Reemtsa contributed hundreds of thousands . . . Ibid., p. 37.
61 In today’s dollars, the fi nal price . . . Reemtsa had offered 1.8 million marks; Hitler’s price was 1.625 million marks. See Spotts, p. 198.
61 Count Jaromir Czernin wrote . . . Nicholas, p. 40.
61 One color illustration after another . . . Spotts, pp. 193–94.
61 Hendrickje Stoffels has since been . . . Ibid., p. 199.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: GOERING’S ART COLLECTION
62 “Rommel has completely lost” . . . David Irving, p. 372.
62 Rommel returned to Africa furious . . . Mosely, p. 355.
63 He visited twenty times . . . Feliciano, p. 36.
63 “The following items were loaded” . . . David Irving, p. 371.
63 “the armistice with the French” . . . Feliciano, p. 40.
63 When war broke out . . . Ibid., pp. 45–46.
63 “As far as the confiscated” . . . David Irving, p. 302.
63 With art as with mass . . . Flanner, p. 229.
64 One admiring biographer . . . Ibid., p. 300.
64 In all, the Germans confiscated . . . Feliciano, pp. 44–45.
64 Those crates marked H1 . . . Ibid., p. 47.
64 The astronomer may actually be . . . Schneider, p. 77.
64 The Vermeer scholar Arthur Wheelock . . . “The Geographer,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 172. 65 Unusually, The Astronomer . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 13.
notes to pages 66–81
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: INSIGHTS FROM A FORGER
66 “There are only three” . . . Author interview, Nov. 4, 2005. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from Myatt in this chapter are from this interview.
66 But as ancient as forgery . . . See the fascinating two-part article by Robert Hughes, “Art and Money,” New Art Examiner, October 1984, and November 1984.
66 “inch for inch” . . . Flanner, p. xxi.
66 Thomas Hoving is fond . . . Hoving chose Horace’s remark as the epigraph for False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-time Art Fakes. Joseph Alsop cited Phaedrus’s warning in his essay “The Faker’s Art,” in New York Review of Books, Oct. 23, 1986.
68 The challenge for a forger . . . E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, p. 309. Gombrich made the Van Gogh–Millet comparison and illustrated it with Van Gogh’s Cornfi eld and Millet’s Cornfi eld.
72 While Myatt did his best . . . The information in this paragraph and the next comes from Peter Landesman, “A 20th- Century Master Scam,” New York Times Magazine, July 18, 1999.
73 At one point he hired . . . Bartos told his story in a documentary called The Puppet Master, shown on British tele vision in 2003.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: THE AMIABLE PSYCHOPATH
77 He clapped along merrily . . . Mosley, p. 390.
77 “I saw on the platform” . . . Ibid., p. 10.
78 “The director did object” . . . David Irving, p. 155.
78 Goering used another painting . . . Nicholas, p. 35.
78 “Goering was never unpleasant” . . . Ibid., p. 109.
78 “Bachstitz is to be left alone” . . . David Irving, p. 437.
78 One colleague, writing . . . Quoted in Fest, p. 78.
78 Hofer made the rounds . . . Nicholas, p. 36.
78 Goering ignored UFA’s invoice . . . David Irving, p. 280.
79 In April 1935, when Goering married . . . This description of Goering’s wedding festivities and the quote from Emmy Goering come from David Irving, pp. 157–58.
79 The gifts were lavish . . . Fest, p. 31, and David Irving, p. 374.
80 “I was the last court” . . . David Irving, p. 299.
80 “Heil der Dicke!” . . . Mosley, p. 211.
80 “The people want to love” . . . Fest, p. 72.
80 One nightclub comic . . . Mosley, p. 9.
80 “He can turn on a smile” . . . Goldensohn, p. 101.
80 “When you use a plane” . . . Mosley, p. 204.
80 “Certainly as second man” . . . Goldensohn, p. 131.
80 “I seem to come alive” . . . Mosley, p. 34.
80 “there will be statues” . . . Fest, p. 82.
81 “what made those Nazis tick” . . . Goldensohn, p xx.
81 “half militarist and half gangster” . . . Mosley, p. 416.
81 “For these crimes” . . . Quoted by Gary J. Bass in a New York Times op-ed entitled “Try and Try Again,” Sept. 26, 2006. Bass is the author of Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals.
81 It was in a conversation . . . G. M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, p. 278.
notes to pages 83–90
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: GOERING’S PRIZE
83 Vermeer’s procuress has a cagey . . . Diederik Kraaijpoel, personal communication, June 7, 2006.
83 That suddenly precious painting . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 155.
84 Miedl knew Goering well . . . Nicholas, p. 105.
84 2 million Dutch guilders . . . Ibid., p. 110.
84 Goering handed Miedl 137 paintings . . . There is dispute over this number. Nicholas cites a
fi gure of 150. See pp. 109–10. Kilbracken puts the number at “some two hundred”; see p. 2. The 137 figure comes from Thomas Carr Howe, Salt Mines and Castles: The Discovery and Restitution of Looted European Art, p. 193. I have gone with 137 both because it is the most conservative figure and because Howe, a Monuments Man, wrote a fi rsthand account of seeing Goering’s stolen “Vermeer” in Berchtesgaden.
CHAPTER NINETEEN: VERMEER
85 “It now seems uncontentious” . . . Gaskell, p. 39.
85 “perhaps the loveliest objects” . . . John Updike, Just Looking, p. 22.
86 Vermeer “stayed with me” . . . Swillens, p. 13. Werness cites this passage in “Han van
Meegeren fecit”; see p. 51. 86 plague swept through Amsterdam . . . Anthony Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p. 105. 86 in 1654, an explosion . . . The first chapter of Anthony Bailey’s Vermeer is a tour de force
description of the explosion. See also Hans Koningsberger, The World of Vermeer, pp.
60–61. 86 “Everyone must be made to live” . . . Simon Schama, Rembrandt’s Eyes, p. 57. 86 “If there are vices” . . . E. H. Carr, What Is History? p. 77. 86 One victim of the blast . . . Koningsberger, p. 60. 87 The war was “still going” . . . Koningsberger, p. 29. 87 “to spend a little time with the Vermeers” . . . Lawrence Weschler, Vermeer in Bosnia, p. 14.
CHAPTER TWENTY: JOHANNES VERMEER, SUPERSTAR
88 The painting had suffered . . . Blankert, personal communication, May 20, 2006. Blankert, who studied the prices in nineteenth-century travelers’ guides to Holland, estimates that 2.3 fl orins was roughly the price of a night in a first-class hotel and a light meal.
88 From the start, rapturous crowds . . . Quentin Buvelot, “On Des Tombe, Donor of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Mauritshuis in Focus, Jan. 2004.
89 The frenzy was dubbed . . . Arthur Wheelock and Marguerite Glass, “The Appreciation of Vermeer in Twentieth-Century America,” in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer, ed. Wayne Franits, p. 163.
89 Duveen had “noticed that Europe” . . . S. N. Behrman, Duveen, p. 3.
89 J.P. Morgan acquired . . . Philipp Blom discusses Morgan’s Bibles and Hearst’s warehouses
in To Have and to Hold; see pp. 127 and 134. 89 She had been so worried . . . Peter Watson, From Manet to Manhattan, p. 127. 90 “It is important for both” . . . Colin Simpson, Artful Partners: Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen,
p. 87. 90 “He did not object to my mentioning” . . . Jean Strouse, Morgan, p. 562. 90 “This bronze bust is in” . . . Blom, p. 126. 90 Morgan had evidently paid . . . Ben Broos, “Un celebre Peijntre nommé Vermeer,” in Wheelock,
ed. Johannes Vermeer, pp. 159–61.
notes to pages 91–97
91 “The rare and incomparable” . . . Wheelock and Glass, “Appreciation,” p. 167.
91 Vermeer was “the greatest” . . . Ibid., p. 170. The other superlatives can be found in Philip
Hale, Jan Vermeer of Delft (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913).
91 Ladies’ Home Journal . . . Wheelock and Glass, “Appreciation,” p. 169.
91 The debate centered on . . . “The Milkmaid,” in Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 112.
91 J. P. Morgan owned three . . . Strouse, p. 611.
92 All six of the Vermeers . . . Wheelock and Glass, “Appreciation,” p. 168.
92 “Railroads,” Frick declared . . . Matthew Josephson, The Robber Barons (New York: Harcourt,
Brace, 1934), p. 344.
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: A GHOST’S FINGERPRINTS
93 We have seventy-odd Rembrandt . . . Albert Blankert puts the Rembrandt tally at roughly forty painted self-portraits and thirty etched self-portraits. Personal communication, June 4, 2006.
93 “Rembrandt, the paint er of mystery” . . . Wheelock and Glass, “Appreciation,” p. 171.
93 Historians can name fifty . . . Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p. 41.
94 “Not only are the paintings” . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 17.
94 “ full of warmth” . . . Schneider, p. 79.
94 “almost inhuman coolness” . . . Updike, p. 26.
95 That house still stands . . . Philip Steadman, Vermeer’s Camera, pp. 59–62.
95 The buildings that Vermeer . . . Author interview with Frederik Kreuger, Aug. 23, 2005.
Kreuger, a resident of Delft, graciously conducted me on a tour of the city he knows so well, with special attention paid to locations relevant to Vermeer and Van Meegeren. A tireless investigator of all things related to Van Meegeren, Kreuger taught engineering at Van Meegeren’s old school, the Delft Institute of Technology. He is the author of a biography called Han van Meegeren: Meestervervalser, which is notable for thoroughness and more than a hundred reproductions of Van Meegeren’s paintings, and an account of Van Meegeren’s arrest called De Arrestatie van een Meestervervalser. Kreuger also wrote a novel based on the case, available in English, called The Deception.
95 Even Vermeer’s mortal remains . . . Kreuger, Aug. 23, 2005. 95 Ordinarily they moved often . . . I owe this information on Van Meegeren’s student days, and in particular the speculation about a liberal landlady, to Kreuger. 95 “generally ignored or completely forgotten” . . . J. H. Huizinga, Dutch Civilization in the Seventeenth Century and Other Essays, p. 44. 96 At age twenty- one . . . The source of these sentences on “master painters” is Bailey, Vermeer,
pp. 56 and 89. 96 Certainly no one spoke . . . Arthur Wheelock, Vermeer: The Complete Works, p. 6. 96 But his work commanded . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 60. 96 At an Amsterdam auction . . . Bailey, Vermeer, p. 212. 96 Two hundred guilders was . . . Ibid., p. 99. 96 One Dutch scholar has made . . . Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p. 67, citing the work of A. D.
van der Woude. 97 that second job may have brought in . . . Bailey, Vermeer, p. 99. 97 “decay and decadence” . . . Ibid., p. 204. 97 “The greatest mystery” . . . Paul Johnson, Art: A New History, p. 379
97 Vermeer’s paintings “passed” . . . Updike, p. 24.
not e s to pag e s 97–10 8 3 0 5
97 In July 2004 . . . See Carol Vogel, “Long Suspect, A Vermeer Is Vindicated by $30Million Sale,” New York Times, July 8, 2004; Martin Bailey, “Rediscovery: A 36th Vermeer?” www .theartnewspaper .com, March 2001; Martin Bailey, “Oh Yes It Is! Oh No It’s Not!” www .theartnewspaper .com, July/August 2001.
98 “An eigh teenth- century own er” . . . Koningsberger, p. 169.
98 “Historical accuracy was not” . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 62.
98 Worse still, a long list . . . Bailey, Vermeer, pp. 215–16.
98 The word Bürger . . . Blankert, p. 68.
98 The long- neglected Vermeer . . . Bailey, Vermeer, p. 220.
99 In 1816, the authors . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, pp. 64–65.
99 In Amsterdam he found . . . Bailey, Vermeer, p. 215.
99 In Dresden he discovered . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 156.
99 In Brunswick he turned up . . . Ibid., p. 159.
99 “nowadays Mr. Bürger sees” . . . Ben Broos, “Vermeer: Malice and Misconception,” in Gaskell and Jonker, eds., Vermeer Studies, p. 22.
99 Thoré-Bürger wrote enthusiastically . . . Broos, “Malice,” p. 23.
99 “This dev il of an artist” . . . “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 138.
100 “Hardly a Dutch name” . . . Broos, “Malice,” p. 24.
100 In his three essays . . . Ibid., p. 23.
100 “I hope that researchers” . . . Théophile Thoré-Bürger, “Van der Meer de Delft (Suite),” Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1866, p. 470. This was the second of Thoré-Bürger’s three Vermeer essays.
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: TWO FORGED VERMEERS
105 “It is a frightful” . . . René Gimpel, Diary of an Art Dealer, 1918–1939, p. 230.
106 “an oracle of art-historical” . . . Albert Blankert, “ ‘Dame Winter’ by Caesar van Everdingen,”
in his Selected Writings on Dutch Painting, p. 209.
106 “We must say,” they added . . . These excerpts from Duveen’s correspondence can be found at the Getty Research Institute, which houses the entire Duveen archives, or on microfilm in the Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I consulted them. See Box 300, reel 155, folder 9 of the microfilms.
106 Each time a new Vermeer appeared . . . Arthur Wheelock’s brilliant essay “The Story of Two Vermeer Forgeries” is by far the best account of this Vermeer fever and the follies it inspired. Much of my discussion in this chapter and the next follows Wheelock’s essay.
106 “It was not without emotion” . . . This is Wheelock’s translation in his“Two Forgeries” essay, p. 273. The original passage is in Seymour de Ricci, “Le quarante-et-unième Vermeer,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 16 (1927): 305–10. The quoted passage begins on p. 306. (The title means “The Forty- first Vermeer.”)
107 Mellon had purchased . . . “The Girl with the Red Hat,” in Wheelock, ed. Johannes Vermeer, p. 165.
107 “a double- entry bookkeeper” . . . Behrman, pp. 254–55.
107 Mellon had not revealed . . . David Cannadine, Mellon, pp. 130–31.
108 “Duveen,” one biographer tells us . . . Meryle Secrest, Duveen, p. 303.
108 By the time Mellon had walked . . . Ibid.
notes to pages 108–118
108 In 1936, when Mellon . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 275.
108 In recent years . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 275.
108 “It’s just impossible” . . . Author interview, Dec. 19, 2005.
108 That forger, he argues . . . Wheelock writes on p. 271 of “Two Forgeries” that “circumstantial
evidence convinces me that all four of these paintings [Mellon’s two Vermeers and
De Groot’s two Halses] originated in the workshop of Theodorus van Wijngaarden.”
On p. 426 he labels reproductions of A Boy Smoking and the Smiling Girl as “probably
Theodorus van Wijngaarden,” and on p. 427 he makes the same attribution for The
Lacemaker. As noted in chapter 24, Hope Werness follows Marijke van den Brandhof in
attributing the two “Halses” to Van Meegeren.
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: THE EXPERT’S EYE
109 “To hear almost every year” . . . W. R. Valentiner, “A Newly Discovered Vermeer,” Art in America, April 1928, p. 107.
110 Arthur Wheelock points out . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 273.
111 In a discussion of the Smiling . . . Broos, “Un celebre Peijntre,” p. 65.
112 “genuine and extraordinarily beautiful” . . . Echt of Onecht? Oog of Chemie? (The title means True or False? Eye or Chemistry?). My quotation follows the translation of Harry van de Waal, “Forgery as a Stylistic Problem,” in Aspects of Art Forgery, p. 9. Van de Waal’s essay, especially the sections on how hard it is for artists and forgers to escape their own era, is dazzling.
112 “magnificent in the contrast of colors” . . . Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, “Some Recently Discovered Works by Frans Hals,” The Burlington Magazine 45 (1924) 87.
112 “This little gem” . . . De Groot, “Recently Discovered,” p. 87.
112 If he was wrong, he roared . . . Van de Waal, p. 10, quoting Echt of Onecht?
113 “I should have to admit” . . . Ibid.
113 An array of scientific tests . . . Otto Kurz, Fakes, p. 60.
113 A modern restorer might . . . De Groot, Echt of Onecht?
113 Knowing that the standard . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 272.
113 “As I am firmly convinced” . . . Kurz, p. 61.
113 “the inexpertness of the experts” . . . This remark and the one about the Dreyfus case are from Van de Waal, p. 10.
114 Seeing where things . . . Kurz, p. 60.
114 “probably painted about 1625–30” . . . De Groot, “Recently Discovered,” p. 87.
114 “ from a dealer” . . . Ibid.
114 “In the art of painting” . . . De Groot, Echt of Onecht?
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: A FORGER’S LESSONS
115 Hope Werness declares outright . . . Werness, “Han van Meegeren fecit,” p. 18. Werness cites Van den Brandhof, pp. 67–77.
115 Küffner sawed the panel . . . Sepp Schüller tells this story in Forgers, Dealers, Experts; see pp. 18–
21. For a more recent, skeptical take, see Daniel Hess, “Dürer als Nürnberger Markenartikel,” in Quasi Centrum Europae Europa kauft in Nürnberg 1400–1800, ed. Hermann Maué et al., 2002.
116 “he had had the good fortune” . . . De Groot, Echt of Onecht?
118 Hals’s painting at the Schwerin museum . . . Van den Brandhof makes this point, p. 70.
notes to pages 118–127
118 “evidently the same boy” . . . This remark (and De Groot’s exclamations of delight) are in De Groot, “Recently Discovered,” p. 87.
118 “In no other field” . . . Van de Waal, p. 13.
118 The English painter Leo Stevenson . . . Leo Stevenson, “A Genuine Copy?,” available online at www.leostevenson.com .
119 a “characteristic fairly early work” . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 273.
119 “one which, up to the present” . . . Ibid., p. 274.
119 The esteemed Vermeer scholar . . . Ibid.
119 Berenson’s dismissal . . . Simpson, Artful Partners, p. 67.
120 “highly imaginative” . . . Jorgen Wadum, “Contours of Vermeer,” Vermeer Studies, p. 223.
120 “Gratuitous nastiness is part” . . . Author interview, Nov. 8, 2005.
CHAPTER TWENTY- FIVE: BREDIUS
121 The best brief essay on Bredius’s life is “Abraham Bredius, a Biography,” by Louise Barnouw-de Ranitz, the source of many of the facts in this chapter. It is available online at the Bredius Museum website, http://www.museumbredius.nl/biography.htm .
121 he had been the first to praise . . . “Vermeer slays them all,” Bredius wrote. “The head of a girl, which would almost have one forget that one is looking at a canvas, and the unique glow of light, take sole hold of your attention.” See “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 168.
122 His colleague’s book was “horrible” . . . Catherine Scallen, Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Conoisseurship, p. 118.
122 he lent the museum twenty-five . . . Marjolein de Boer and Josephine Leistra, Bredius, Rembrandt en het Mauritshuis!!!
122 “Jumpy, agitated, nervous” . . . Barnouw-de Ranitz.
123 “murder of the century” . . . Theo van der Meer and Paul Snijders, “Ernstige moraliteits— toestanden in de residentie. Een ‘whodunnit’ over het Haagse zedenschandaal van 1920,” Pro Memorie 4, no. 2 (2002): 373–408. (The title means “Moral Crisis in the Capital. A Whodunit About the Scandal of 1920.”)
123 “consumed by jealousy” . . . Barnouw-de Ranitz.
124 “What a heresy, is it not” . . . Abraham Bredius, “Ein Pseudo-Vermeer in der Berliner Galerie,” Kunst- Chronik 18 (1883): 67–71. (The title means “A Pseudo-Vermeer in the Berlin Gallery.”) Ben Broos discusses Bredius’s essay in “Vermeer: Malice and Misconception.” See Gaskell and Jonker, eds., Vermeer Studies, p. 23.
124 “Rembrandt becomes closer and more precious” . . . Barnouw-de Ranitz.
125 “A short time ago” . . . Bredius, “An Unknown Rembrandt Portrait,” The Burlington Magazine 48, 1926, p. 205.
125 “His door was always” . . . Marjolein de Boer, “Bredius Museum Reborn.” This essay is available online at http://www.art.nl/journal/article.aspx?ID=8.
126 “Let us not forget” . . . Barnouw-de Ranitz.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: “WITHOUT ANY DOUBT!”
127 “With this acquisition of the new” . . . “Allegory of Faith,” Wheelock, ed. Johannes Vermeer, p. 194.
127 Bredius picked up the picture . . . “Allegory of Faith,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, pp. 194–95, and Bailey, Vermeer p. 226.
3 0 8 no t e s t o pag e s 1 27–1 4 0
127 Nor do many other . . . “Allegory of Faith,” Ibid., p. 195, 20n.
129 And the Utrecht Vermeer . . . “Christ in the House of Mary and Martha,” Wheelock, ed.,
Johannes Vermeer, pp. 94–95.
129 There an art dealer threw it in . . . Ibid., pp. 90, 94.
129 “I told him it was a Vermeer” . . . [London] Morning Post, Jan. 14, 1927, p. 9.
129 “Exactly as the M[aurits] huis Diana” . . . “Diana and Her Companions,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 100.
130 “Diana never can have been his” . . . P.T.A. Swillens, Johannes Vermeer. See “Works Wrongly Attributed to Vermeer,” pp. 157–64. The Diana quote is from p. 159, the Christ in the House quote from p. 162.
131 In 1989 the great scholar J. M. Montias . . . “Young Girl with a Flute,” Wheelock, ed. Johannes Vermeer, p. 207.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN: THE UNCANNY VALLEY
133 Under the headline “Art as Dung” . . . Gerritsen’s article appeared in the NRC Handelsblad on Feb. 19, 1996. The letter to the editor from the director of the Kunsthal, Wim van Krimpen, ran on Feb. 21, 1996.
134 Samuel Taylor Coleridge once saw . . . Richard Holmes, “The Passionate Partnership,” New York Review of Books, April 12, 2007, p. 44.
134 Albert Blankert thinks it means . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 73, and author interview with Wheelock, Dec. 19, 2005.
135 The writer Clive Thompson spelled out . . . Thompson’s article appeared online at www.slate.com on June 9, 2004.
136 A painstaking, seemingly perfect depiction . . . Gombrich explored this topic in great depth, especially in Art and Illusion. The chapter of that book called “The Beholder’s Share” is a marvelous essay, stuffed with examples, on precisely this question.
136 “an old shoe is easier” . . . Franzen, “Growing Up with Charlie Brown,” The New Yorker, Oct. 29, 2004. In a similar vein, the film critic A. O. Scott once wrote a meditation on “why certain faces haunt and move us as they do.” The face he had in mind was not that of Mona Lisa or the girl with a pearl earring but Gromit, a cartoon dog who “has no mouth, and yet his face is one of the most expressive ever committed to the screen.” See “A New Challenge for an Englishman and His Dog,” New York Times, Oct. 5, 2005.
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: BETTING THE FARM
137 “Vermeer was the painter Van Meegeren” . . . Doudart de la Grée, p. 14.
137 “a blessed terrain lay fallow” . . . Ibid.
138 “But with Rembrandt, everything” . . . Author interview, Aug. 22, 2005.
CHAPTER TWENTY- NINE: LADY AND GENTLEMAN AT THE HARPSICHORD
139 “one of the fi nest gems” . . . Bredius, “An Unpublished Vermeer,” The Burlington Magazine, Oct. 1932, p. 145.
139 The Hague had an active . . . The source for this paragraph and the next is Werness, p. 17, quoting Van den Brandhof.
140 could strut standing still . . . Charlie Dressen, one-time manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, supposedly used the phrase to describe the flamboyant star Big Ed Walsh.
notes to pages 140–143
140 “No more intense detective work” . . . This quotation, and all the others in this section of this
chapter, are from Bredius’s “An Unpublished Vermeer.”
141 almost certainly Van Meegeren’s work . . . Many writers simply assert as a matter of fact that it is Van Meegeren’s. See, for example, Van den Brandhof, p. 93, or M. Kirby Talley, Jr.,
in Jones, p. 240. Albert Blankert notes that Duveen’s Edward Fowles disagreed. See
Blankert, “The Case of Han van Meegeren’s Fake Vermeer Supper at Emmaus Reconsidered,”
p. 52, in In His Milieu, ed. A. Golahny et al. As discussed in chapter 37, Fowles’s
judgments on Van Meegeren warrant respect. Blankert’s essay is the best and most
thoughtful look at Van Meegeren and the art connoisseurs he befuddled.
141 De Groot had treated Bredius . . . Blankert, Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact, p. 184.
142 “Stripped of his cloak” . . . Talley, in Jones, p. 240.
142 “it is common talk” . . . Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren,” p. 52.
142 The eminent Parisian dealer . . . The comment on Wildenstein and Loebl comes from a
letter written on October 19, 1932, by Edward Fowles, in the Paris office of Duveen
Brothers, to Joseph Duveen in New York. The letter is in Duveen Brothers Rec ords,
Box 315, Folder 1, Special Collections, Archive Division, J. Paul Getty Trust.
143 Each looked closely . . . The books in question were Eduard Plietzsch, Vermeer van Delft, and Arie B. de Vries, Jan Vermeer van Delft.
143 This was no oversight . . . Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren,” p. 52.
143 Mannheimer was a man of colossal . . . “Post-war Story,” Time, Aug. 21, 1939.
143 one- time protégé . . . The reference to Schmidt-Degener as Bredius’s protégé is from an essay by Wilhelm Martin, deputy director of the Mauritshuis under Bredius and later
director in his own right. 
143 “The Vermeer at Mannheimer” . . . The art historian Jim van der Meer Mohr has dug deeper
into the archives in quest of Bredius than any other researcher and has graciously shared
many of his findings with me. The comment on Mannheimer appeared in a letter Bredius
wrote to Hannema on Nov. 12, 1937. It can be found in a detailed chronology of the
events of 1937 compiled by Van der Meer Mohr and based on his archival research. The
chronology, “Bredius en zijn ‘Emmausgangers van Vermeer.’ Een nieuwe reconstructie
aan de hand van de correspondentie van Dr. A. Bredius met Mr. G. A. Boon, Dr. D.
Hannema, de Vereniging Rembrandt en anderen,” can be found online at http://www.vandermeermohr.nl/AbrahamBredius/tabid/930/Default.aspx. (The title means “Bredius and Christ at Emmaus: A New Reconstruction Based on Dr. Bredius’ Correspondence
with Boon, Hannema, the Rembrandt Society, and Others.”)
Van der Meer Mohr has written several essays that highlight his findings. See “Eerherstel
voor Abraham Bredius?” Tableau 18, no. 5 (April 1996): 39–45. (The title means
“Rehabilitation for Abraham Bredius?” The article includes a summary in English.)
See also Van der Meer Mohr’s two-part article “Bredius en zijn ‘Emmausgängers van Vermeer’:
Een Nieuwe Reconstructie,” Origine nos. 5 and 6 (2006).
143 Bredius “knew himself” . . . Lord Kilbracken, Van Meegeren: Master Forger, p. 101. Thomas
Hoving writes in the same vein in False Impressions, p. 171. “Van Meegeren had learned
that to foist a forgery on the world one had only to fool a single expert. Once he had
been taken in, the mark would do all the work to convince the rest of the world that an
unknown masterwork had been found.”
143 “Bredius’ authority on Vermeer matters” . . . Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren,” p. 48.
notes to pages 144–163
144 Bredius’s assistant, Hans Schneider . . . Ibid., p. 51.
144 “I meant to have my picture hang” . . . Sepp Schüller, Forgers, Dealers, Experts: Strange Chapters in the History of Art, p 97. Schüller does not give a source, and I have not been able to find the remark elsewhere.
CHAPTER THIRTY: DIRK HANNEMA
145 Tall, handsome, aristocratic . . . The summary of Hannema’s career in this chapter is based on Max Pam’s essay “De tragiek van het onfeilbare oog. Over Dirk Hannema,” in his De Armen van de inktvis. (The title means “The Tragedy of an Infallible Eye.”)
147 “Never throw anything away” . . . Pam, “Het onfeilbare oog”
147 Van Beuningen refused . . . Pierre Cabanne, The Great Collectors, p. 140. Van Beuningen’s painting, sometimes called the Little ‘Tower of Babel,’ is now in Rotterdam’s Boymans Museum; Brueghel’s more famous Tower of Babel hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum.
148 “a building with serenity” . . . Ibid.
148 “what to many had long seemed” . . . Broos, “Un celebre Peijntre,” p. 61.
148 “Never in living memory . . . Ibid.
148 One hundred thousand enthralled . . . Pam, “Het onfeilbare oog.”
148 “Next to Rembrandt,” museumgoers read . . . Broos, “Un celebre Peijntre,” p. 61.
148 “Each creation [of Vermeer’s]” . . . D. Hannema and A. van Schendel, Jr., Noord- en Zuid-Nederlandsche Schilderkunst der XVIIe eeuw, pp. 14–16.
148 A Dutch art historian argued . . . W. R. Juynboll assigned the Magdalene Under the Cross (which Hannema had assigned to Vermeer) to Tournier. Juynboll’s observation appeared not in an article about the Hannema exhibition but in a review of a book by Alfred Leroy, Histoire de la peinture francaise au XVIIe siècle (1600–1700). See Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, March 10, 1936.
149 In their Vermeer books . . . Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren,” p. 53.
CHAPTER THIRTY- ONE: THE CHOICE
150 “It is unique in the history” . . . Russell, Sunday Times [of London], Oct. 23, 1955.
151 “How long would it take you” . . . Ronald D. Spencer, ed., The Expert versus the Object, p. 205.
152 “On one hand there are the rare” . . . Hannema and van Schendel, Jr., pp. 14–16.
152 “It is,” the art historian Christopher Wright . . . Wright, Vermeer, p. 20.
152 there was no agreement in the 1930s . . . Blankert, personal communication, Dec. 12, 2005.
152 Piltdown Man . . . For the best short account of the Piltdown affair, see Stephen Jay Gould’s essay “Piltdown Revisited” in The Panda’s Thumb (New York: Norton, 1982).
153 “Man at first . . . was merely an Ape” . . . Ibid., p. 117.
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: THE CARAVAGGIO CONNECTION
163 Caravaggio was a brilliant, mischievous choice . . . See, for example, the suggestion of the Belgian sculptor and critic Jean Decoen (who was destined to play a farcical role in the Van Meegeren saga) in The Burlington Magazine. Decoen proposed that “at the age of 13 or 14, Vermeer was learning the rudiments of his art at Delft. He then left for Italy, where he remained two or three years (1648–1650), returned to Holland, stopped at Utrecht where he stayed during the following two years, and afterwards made his way to Delft, where from 1653 he installed himself finally.” Jean Decoen, “Shorter Notices:
notes to pages 164 –178
The New Museum at Rotterdam,” The Burlington Magazine 67, July/December 1935, pp.
131–32.
164 Vermeer indisputably knew . . . His mother-in- law owned Baburen’s Procuress, for example, and Vermeer painted it into the background of both The Concert and Lady Seated at a Virginal.
See Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 170, and Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 16–17.
164 “They are related to early” . . . D. Hannema, Vermeer: Oorsprong en Invloed. (The title means “Origins and Infl uences.”)
164 “Perhaps tomorrow we will discover” . . . Pieter Koomen, Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten, December, 1935. See “Vermeer en zijn verwanten” (The title means “Vermeer and Related Artists.”)
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: IN THE FORGER’S STUDIO
167 He began with a trip . . . Doudart de la Grée, p. 82.
168 The Raising of Lazarus . . . P. B. Coremans, Van Meegeren’s Faked Vermeers and De Hooghs, p. 9.
Coremans was the scientist who proved that Van Meegeren’s “Vermeers” were indeed
forgeries. His account of his findings is one of the essential Van Meegeren texts. 168 One modern-day expert estimates . . . Leo Stevenson, personal communication, Nov. 3, 2006. 169 The famously bare white wall . . . “The Milkmaid,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 108.
X-rays show that in Girl Asleep at a Table Vermeer painted over a dog in the doorway and a man in the next room. See Norbert Schneider, Vermeer, p. 27.
169 The canvas in front of him measured . . . Leo Stevenson, an English painter and art historian who has carried out experiments on scraping paint off old canvases, described the process to me. Personal communication, July 4, 2006.
169 The Girl with a Red Hat . . . “The Girl with the Red Hat,” Wheelock, ed., Johannes Vermeer, p. 162.
CHAPTER THIRTY- FOUR: CHRIST AT EMMAUS
170 The actual painting took . . . Coremans, p. 32.
171 “He did not copy Caravaggio’s” . . . Kraaijpoel, personal communication, Jan. 2, 2006.
171 They marveled at the painting’s “serenity” . . . C. Veth, “Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen,” Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten 15, July 1938. (The title means “Masterpieces of Four Centuries.”)
171 Others were allusions to . . . Theodore Rousseau pointed out the allusions to Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, The Procuress, The Astronomer, and several more. See “The Stylistic Detection of Forgeries,” Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 26 (1967–68), 248.
171 The signature, a neat “I V Meer” . . . Albert Blankert, personal communication, Aug. 25, 2005.
171 “Do you know how long” . . . Doudart de la Grée, p. 91.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: UNDERGROUND TREMORS
173 That meant sliding . . . Coremans, p. 20.
175 In a typical seventeenth-century oil . . . Leo Stevenson spoke to me in great detail about how
and why cracks form in oil paintings. Stevenson, who has carried out many experiments
of his own, emphatically rejects Van Meegeren’s account. 175 “Nowadays you just use” . . . Kraaijpoel, personal communication, June 29, 2006. 176 “Like miniature tectonic plates” . . . Stevenson, personal communication, July 4, 2006. 176 Then, pushing gently but firmly . . . Doudart de la Grée. 176 Van Meegeren would later claim . . . Lord Kilbracken, Van Meegeren: Master Forger, p. 42. 178 The back of Jesus’ right hand . . . Ibid., p. 55.
notes to pages 179 –188
CHAPTER THIRTY- SIX: THE SUMMER OF 1937
179 “Germany has to realize” . . . Lopez, Sept. 29, 2006.
180 “They were confirmed anti- Fascists” . . . Ibid.
180 The collection numbered 162 . . . Coremans, p. 30.
181 At the end of June 1937 . . . As the rest of this chapter makes clear, this date is disputed. Kronig’s letter on July 1, 1937, quoted on page 182, refers to Boon’s recent visit to Bredius and to Emmaus. On August 30, 1937, Boon wrote to Bredius as if the two men had never met. In his letter to the NRC on March 2, 1938, Boon describes his first meeting with Bredius but does not mention a date.
181 Bredius warned Boon . . . See Boon’s letter to the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, March 2, 1938.
181 “delicious Vermeer” . . . The phrase occurs in a letter from Bredius to Hannema written on Sept. 13, 1937. Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
181 “wonderful moment” . . . Bredius, “A New Vermeer,” p. 210.
181 “in an almost overwrought state” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Sept. 9, 1937. Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
181 “As requested by Dr. A. Bredius” . . . Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
182 “Dear sir,” Boon wrote . . . Ibid.
183 Boon and Bredius kept diaries . . . Ibid.
183 Perhaps the simplest scenario . . . Van der Meer Mohr suspects that Bredius genuinely was unavailable at the time of Kronig’s first visit. He believes that Bredius was in Holland at the time. Van der Meer Mohr has managed to track some of Bredius’s comings and goings in that summer, but documentation for the crucial dates remains elusive.
183 But Albert Blankert, the Dutch art historian believes . . . Blankert and I debated the events of this mysterious summer endlessly, in dozens of exchanges throughout 2005–2007. He included some of his thoughts on this question in Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren.”
184 “it belongs in your archives” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Feb. 10, 1938, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
185 “I am in a state of anxiety” . . . Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
185 “This gorgeous work by Vermeer” . . . Ibid.
CHAPTER THIRTY- SEVEN: THE LAMB AT THE BANK
186 “a charming man” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Sept. 13, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
186 He wrote to the Rembrandt . . . Bredius letter written on Dec. 2, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
187 He wrote to the minister . . . Bredius letter written on Sept. 15, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
187 “When an archer is shooting” . . . Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu (New York: New Directions, 1969) p. 158.
187 “In raptures about discovery” . . . Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
188 “These bargains were for somebody else” . . . Het Museum- Boijmans te Rotterdam door P. Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, Oud-Director van het Museum, Amsterdam, pp. 215–33.
188 “If only those in power” . . . Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, Aug. 24, 1935.
188 Rotterdam had “lost” . . . Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, Oct. 30, 1932, “Johannes Vermeer van Delft, 31 October 1632–13 December 1675.” .fi lms
notes to pages 188 –198
188 “Mr. Boon informed me” . . . Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
188 Duveen had been the one to plant . . . Behrman, Duveen, p. 260.
188 “If Duveen offered me two” . . . Ibid., p. 139.
189 “Lord Duveen will immediately sell” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Sept. 13, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
189 “an almost infallible eye” . . . Secrest, Duveen, p. 180.
189 “The moment we looked” . . . Letter written by Fowles on May 1, 1952, in Duveen Archives, Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Box 300, reel 155, folder 9 of the micro189
“a poor piece of painted up linoleum” . . . Blankert, “The Case of Van Meegeren,” p. 50.
189 “The thing I can never understand” . . . Letter written by Fowles on Sept. 15, 1951, Duveen Archives, Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Box 300, reel 155, folder 9 of the microfilms.
190 Had Duveen’s men truly hated . . . Boon letter to Bredius written on March 3, 1938. See the last paragraph of the letter, which begins, “One thing I hope to find out some day: was it ignorance or cunning on Duveen’s part?” Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
190 “Fortunately you have seen” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Nov. 12, 1937. Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
191 “the old man, past his prime” . . . Bredius letter to Rembrandt Society written on Dec. 2, 1937, and Bredius letter to Martin written on Dec. 3, 1937. Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT: “EVERY INCH A VERMEER”
192 “It is a wonderful moment” . . . Bredius, “A New Vermeer,” p. 210.
193 “Go and see the painting” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Nov. 19, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
193 Titian, one story has it . . . Quoting Seymour Keck, the renowned conservator, in Harris, The New Yorker, Sept. 16, 1961.
193 its account was “in total disagreement” . . . Boon’s letter appeared in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant on March 2, 1938.
194 “every inch a Vermeer” . . . Bredius, “A New Vermeer,” p. 210.
194 This painting was different . . . Weerdenburg makes this argument in her doctoral thesis. See full citation in chapter 46.
194 “conscious and deliberate decision” . . . Kilbracken, p. 40.
195 “I notice that you do not say anything” . . . Jim van der Meer Mohr kindly provided me a copy of this letter, which Read sent to Bredius on Sept. 22, 1937.
196 the great majority of connoisseurs attributed . . . Weerdenburg, pp. 49 and 80.
196 “Emmaus is from the painter’s late” . . . Veth, “Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen.”
196 One notable exception was . . . J. H. Huizinga, Dutch Civilization, p. 84.
197 Bredius mentioned three surprises . . . Bredius, “The New ‘Delft’ (!) Vermeer in London,” Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, March 27, 1901.
CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE: TWO WEEKS AND COUNTING
198 “There are only 40” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Dec. 7, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
198 “I had assembled a considerable sum” . . . Hannema letter to Bredius written on Dec. 8, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
notes to pages 198 –206
198 “authentic as gold” . . . Bredius letter to Van Hasselt written on Dec. 9, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
198 “there has to be a rich man” . . . Bredius letter to Van Hasselt, president of the Rembrandt Society, written on Dec. 11, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
198 if only he could afford . . . See, for example, Bredius letters of Dec. 8, 1937, and Dec. 11, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
198 “Everything possible must be done” . . . Dec. 13, 1937 meeting of the Rembrandt Society, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
199 Two days later, Boon wrote . . . Boon letter to Bredius, Dec. 15, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
199 Bredius immediately wrote . . . Letter written Dec. 15, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
200 “Do I need to tell you” . . . Bredius letter to Van Hasselt written Dec. 26, 1937. Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
200 “People will talk for a long time” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on or near Dec. 26, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
CHAPTER FORTY: TOO LATE!
201 “Duveen’s little man-servant” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written on Nov. 12, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
201 “A connoisseur’s eye is like a musical ear” . . . Schmidt-Degener’s remark was cited in his obituary in the New York Times on Nov. 22, 1941.
202 Hannema listened politely . . . Hannema tells the story of this meeting in his autobiography, Flitsen uit mijn Leven, p. 106 (Rotterdam: Ad Donker, 1973). (The title means Glimpses of My Life.) If we had only his account, we might suspect that he had invented or embellished the tale to save face—if Schmidt-Degener and the Rijksmuseum had proposed to trade one of their own Vermeers (and more) for Emmaus, then surely no one could blame Hannema for what turned out to be a colossal misjudgment. But we have a second, indepen dent source that confi rms Schmidt-Degener’s eagerness for Emmaus. This was an account of Schmidt-Degener’s tenure as director of the Rijksmuseum, written on the occasion of the museum’s 175th anniversary. See G. Luijten, “ ‘De Veelheid en de eelheid’: een Rijksmuseum Schmidt-Degener” in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 1984 (1935), pp. 387–88.
CHAPTER FORTY-ONE: THE LAST HURDLE
203 “What a difference,” Bredius exclaimed . . . Bredius, “Nog een word over Vermeer’s Emmausgangers,” Oud Holland 55 (1938): pp. 97–99. Unless otherwise attributed, all quotations from Bredius in this section are from this article.
204 “If only it doesn’t get” . . . Bredius letter to Rembrandt Society written on Dec. 2, 1937, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
204 “Do you know what I’m scared” . . . Bredius letter to Hannema written very near Jan. 4, 1938, Van der Meer Mohr, “Reconstructie.”
206 “ripe for the restorer” . . . Author interview, Jan. 17, 2006.
206 Neither Luitwieler nor anyone else . . . Coremans, p. 35.
206 When it came to the technical side . . . Author interview, Jan. 17, 2006. That judgment echoes the verdict of P. B. Coremans, the Belgian scientist who headed the official investigation
notes to pages 206 –221
of Van Meegeren’s fakes. In his article on forgery, the journalist Richard Harris
quoted Sheldon Keck, a renowned American authority on the scientific study of
paintings: “Van Meegeren was close to being a genius.” See The New Yorker, Sept. 16,
1961, p. 139. 206 On July 18, 1945 . . . “Cheating the Dutch,” Newsweek, July 20, 1945.
CHAPTER FORTY-TWO: THE UNVEILING
207 “I can still see the painting” . . . Pam, “Het onfeilbare oog.”
208 Time magazine’s art critic . . . “From a Linen Closet,” Time, Sept. 19, 1938.
208 Van Meegeren liked to tell . . . Kilbracken, p. 184.
209 “The discovery of Emmaus” . . . F. van Thienen, Vermeer, quoted in Weerdenburg.
CHAPTER FORTY-THREE: SCANDAL IN THE ARCHIVES
213 “It’s awful that it’s one of our most” . . . Author interview, Aug. 25, 2005.
214 “They sold just the same” . . . Coremans, p. 33.
215 “Each new biblical ‘Vermeer’ ” . . . Van Beuningen, the Rotterdam collector, said that he expected more Vermeers to turn up after Emmaus and Head of Christ, “because I was convinced that such creations could not stand by themselves.” See Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen, p. 75.
215 “What appeared impossible” . . . Bredius, “Een Prachtige Pieter de Hoogh,” Oud Holland, 56 (1939), 126–27.
216 “women by the dozen” . . . Joop Piller and Van Meegeren would become friends of a sort, and Van Meegeren regaled Piller with endless tales of debauchery. Author interview with Harry Van Wijnen, Aug. 25, 2005.
216 In 1942, when the government issued . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen, p. 70.
217 “It looks disturbingly as though” . . . Werness, p. 41.
217 “I do not understand” . . . Kilbracken, p. 180.
CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR: ALL IN THE TIMING
218 men spent more on a single bulb . . . Anna Pavord, The Tulip (New York: Bloomsbury, 1999), p. 133.
218 “a nobler creation has, perhaps, never” . . . Dirk Hannema, “Annual Report of the Rembrandt Society, 1937,” quoted in Van Dantzig, Vermeer, De Emmausgangers en de critici, p. 73. 218 “After a comparison of both works” . . . Dr. J.L.A.A.M. Van Rijckevorsel, Historia Boymansnummer: Vermeer en Caravaggio,” . . . July 1938, quoted in Van Dantzig, Vermeer, pp. 83–84. 218 “Amidst the anxious and seemingly hopeless” . . . Blankert, Vermeer of Delft, p. 73. 219 But when the same sentiment was sanctified . . . My remark is a paraphrase of Blankert’s observation in Vermeer of Delft, p. 73. 219 “Because Holland was so sturdy” . . . Anne O’Hare McCormick, “Jewels of Holland’s Art Illumine a Cave,” New York Times, December 4, 1944. 219 Daniel Mendelsohn has looked . . . Daniel Mendelsohn, “Novel of the Year,” New York Review of Books, Jan. 16, 2003. 220 If he had lived half a century earlier . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen, p. 44. 220 “With the old masters” . . . Ibid., p. 43. 221 “Death seems truly conquered here” . . . G. Knuttel, De Nederlandsche schilderkunst van van Eyck tot
van Gogh, p. 308, quoted in Weerdenburg. 221 “Forgery is a kind of short-cut” . . . Kurz, p. 320.
notes to pages 221–227
221 When the critic Kenneth Clark . . . Jones, ed., pp. 34–35.
222 “Forgeries must be served hot” . . . Max Friedländer, “On Forgeries,” in Ronald D. Spencer,
ed., The Expert versus The Object, p. 41. (This essay is a chapter from Friedländer’s On Art
and Connoisseurship.)
222 It is a rule with . . . Rousseau, “Stylistic Detection,” p. 247.
CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE: BELIEVING IS SEEING
223 “We have a saying” . . . Author interview, Aug. 22, 2005.
224 “The main reason why a scholar” . . . David Hirshleifer, “The Blind Leading the Blind: Social Influence, Fads, and Informational Cascades,” UCLA, Anderson Graduate School of Management, Paper 1156, 1993.
224 “One of our most prominent scholars” . . . Rousseau, “Stylistic Detection,” p. 252.
224 “Before the second world war” . . . Author interview, Aug. 23, 2005.
224 In 1977 a prankster . . . “Polish Joke,” Time, Feb. 19, 1979.
224 To cry “ fake!” . . . Thomas Hoving remarks that “the worst thing you can do is to stamp a genuine piece with the mark of falsehood,” and he quotes Max Friedländer’s observation that “It is indeed an error to collect a forgery, but it is a sin to stamp a genuine piece with the seal of forgery.” See Hoving, “The Game of Duplicity,” Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 26 (1967–68), pp. 241, 246.
225 Connoisseurs, wrote Van de Waal . . . Van de Waal, “Forgery as a Stylistic Problem.”
226 the number on our bathroom scale . . . Daniel Gilbert provided the bathroom scale example in an op-ed entitled “I’m Ok, You’re Biased,” in New York Times, on April 17, 2006. He explored self-deception and related topics at greater length in his intriguing book Stumbling on Happiness.
226 Half the babies were . . . Spelke told this story in a debate with Steven Pinker at Harvard on May 16, 2005. The debate was called “The Science of Gender and Science.” A transcript can be found at http://www.edge.org/3rd _culture/ debate05/ debate05_index .html .
226 He clung to the paintings . . . Wheelock, “Two Forgeries,” p. 271.
226 “A man with a conviction” . . . Festinger had been studying a group of religious believers who had declared that the world would end on a particular day. His classic account, When Prophecy Failed, described their response when the world went on as usual. In short, the believers clung to their faith and decided that somehow their calculations had gone awry.
226 “Even before the war” . . . Joachim C. Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, p. 59.
CHAPTER FORTY-SIX: THE MEN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
227 “When you’re certain you cannot” . . . Teller, “The Grift of the Magi,” New York Times Book Review, Feb. 13, 2005. Teller, the silent half of Penn and Teller, was reviewing Peter Lamont’s Rise of the Indian Rope Trick: How a Spectacular Hoax Became History.
227 “There are some mistakes” . . . The remark may be apocryphal. The political scientist Francis Fukuyama attributed it to Moynihan in a television interview. I have not been able to track it to the source. Perhaps Fukuyama had in mind Orwell’s comment, in “Notes on Nationalism,” that “one has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”
227 Bredius himself compared . . . In his essay “A New Vermeer,” quoted earlier.
notes to pages 227 –240
227 The eminent astronomer Percival Lowell . . . Lowell, Mars, chap. 4 (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1895). 228 “It’s not as simple” . . . Jim Steinmeyer, “The Simple Art of Deception,” Montreal Gazette, April 16, 2004. Steinmeyer discusses this question at greater length in his fine book Hiding the Elephant. 228 In one classic study . . . Fischoff, Slovic, and Lichtenstein, “Knowing with Certainty: The Appropriateness of Extreme Confidence,” Journal of Experimental Psychology 3 (1977): 552–64. My description follows the account in Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Inevitable Illusions, pp. 116–20. 229 “It is therefore most important” . . . Piattelli-Palmarini, p. 120. 229 “You know what forgers do” . . . John McPhee, A Roomful of Hovings, p. 23. 229 Sir George Hill . . . Jones, ed., p. 172. 229 The wine connoisseur immediately recognizes . . . Max Friedländer, “Artistic Quality: Original and Copy,” The Burlington Magazine, May 1941. (This essay is a chapter from Friedländer’s On Art and Connoisseurship.) 230 Frédéric Brochet gave fifty-four experts . . . “Cheeky little test exposes wine experts as weak
and flat,” The Times [of London], Jan. 14, 2002. 231 “When I studied art history” . . . Author interview, Aug. 26, 2005. 231 Arabs see a furry . . . N. R. Hanson gives this example in Patterns of Discovery, p. 19. 231 Before Van Meegeren was unmasked . . . Sandra Weerdenburg, De Emmausgangers: een omslag in waardering, Utrecht, 1988.
233 “Who would have believed” . . . Quoted in Clara Pinto-Correia, The Ovary of Eve (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 231. This charming history argues that the conventional story of “the little man in the sperm cell” may misrepresent the true, and tangled, story.
CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN: BLUE MONDAY
236 The artist’s right hand looks swollen . . . Diederik Kraaijpoel calls attention to this oddly painted hand in Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen, p. 32.
237 The curious result is that . . . See the discussion in Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, pp. 73–74.
237 Bathsheba, “the most beautiful nude” . . . Simon Schama, Rembrandt’s Eyes, p. 551.
237 “It is a question of not just how well” . . . Bailey, Responses to Rembrandt, p. 73.
238 Kraaijpoel cites specific weaknesses . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen, pp. 31–34, and personal communication, Dec. 11, 2005.
238 The police would later find . . . Coremans includes a photo of several such objects. See his plate 45. The glasses and pitcher in Coremans’ photo look slightly different from those in Emmaus. Kilbracken suggests that at the time Van Meegeren painted Emmaus he owned the white jug but not the other artifacts. See Kilbracken, p. 46.
238 “If you have painted two or three thousand” . . . David Anderson, “Old Masters to Order: Forgery as a Fine Art,” New York Times Magazine, Dec. 23, 1945.
CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT: HE WHO HESITATES
239 “Sometimes it is a question of lovely equipoise” . . . Max Friedländer, “Artistic Quality: Original and Copy,” The Burlington Magazine 78, May 1941, p. 143.
240 “You figure it out, I know it.” . . . Tom Mueller, “Your Move,” The New Yorker, Dec. 12, 2005.
240 “He was as good at recognizing” . . . Blankert, personal communication, Dec. 2, 2006.
notes to pages 24 0 –254
240 Malcolm Gladwell began his book . . . Gladwell’s book is eye-opening and provocative. He tells the Hoving story on pp. 3–8.
241 Did it take him two seconds . . . Sue Halpern makes this point in a fine essay reviewing Blink and a second book. See Sue Halpern, “The Moment of Truth?” New York Review of Books, April 28, 2005.
241 “I always swoon when I see” . . . Christopher Reed, “Wrong!” Harvard Magazine, Sept.–Oct., 2004.
241 “picking out, in seconds, the fuzzy” . . . Thomas Hoving, Master Pieces, pp. 6–7.
241 The pianist Lorin Hollander . . . Marie Winn, New York Times Magazine, Dec. 23, 1979.
242 “Provenance is a laugh” . . . Author interview, Nov. 16, 2005.
242 “That’s the trouble with an ‘eye’ ” . . . Author interview, Aug. 26, 2005.
CHAPTER FORTY-NINE: THE GREAT CHANGEOVER
243 “sometimes so thorough” . . . J. C. Masterman, The Double- Cross System, p. 18.
243 “It appeared that the only quality” . . . Ibid., p. 30.
244 “Look at it from Bredius’s” . . . Author interview, Nov. 16, 2005.
244 “They’ll help us all the way” . . . Clifford Irving tells his story in The Hoax. This quote is from p. 69.
245 His publishers swallowed . . . Ibid., pp. 169–70, 209.
245 “It’s got to occur to them” . . . Ibid., p. 269.
CHAPTER FIFTY: THE SECRET IN THE SALT MINE
249 “In the last weeks of the war” . . . Osmar White, Conqueror’s Road, p. 65.
249 “At the height of its war effort” . . . Flanner, p. 266. For a history of the Monuments Men (and hundreds of photographs), see Robert M. Edsel, Rescuing da Vinci.
250 a peak of perhaps 80 . . . Flanner, p. 269.
250 art at fi fty-three different locations . . . White, p. 65.
250 a private named Mootz . . . This account is taken from White, p. 68, and Flanner, p. 276.
251 On both sides of the tracks . . . Greg Bradsher, “Nazi Gold: The Merkers Mine Treasure,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 31, no. 1 (Spring 1999).
251 “With weary courtesy” . . . White, p. 70.
CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE: THE DENTIST’S TALE
252 The private’s job was . . . Lincoln Kirstein, Rhymes of a PFC. See “Arts and Monuments,” pp. 200–205. 253 Bunjes, one historian would later write . . . Flanner, p. 252. 253 “Information tumbled out” . . . Lincoln Kirstein, “The Quest of the Golden Lamb,” Town and Country, Sept. 1945. 253 Platoons of workmen had built . . . The details in this paragraph are from Nicholas, p. 314 (temperature and humidity); Howe, p. 150 (four tiers); Milton Esterow, The Art Stealers,
p. 90 (Nazi orders); Hugh McLeave, Rogues in the Gallery, p. 227 (urgent pleas) (Boston: David Godine, 1981). 253 No help was forthcoming . . . Nicholas, p. 332, and Kirstein, “Arts and Monuments,” p. 204. 254 worked since 1310 . . . Kirstein, “Golden Lamb.” 254 There they beheld . . . Ibid. 254 The altarpiece included twelve . . . Esterow, The Art Stealers, p. 86.
notes to pages 255 –264
255 Here were painting upon painting . . . Howe, pp. 151–53.
255 “6577 paintings, 2300 drawings” . . . Nicholas, p. 348.
CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO: GOERING ON THE RUN
256 Goering had begun shipping . . . Nicholas, p. 318.
256 Goering sent the soldiers . . . Kenneth D. Alford, Great Treasure Stor
256 “From one private house” . . . David Irving, p. 451.
256 The prizes of Goering’s collection . . . Nicholas, p. 318.
256 Goering shot four bison . . . Mosley, p. 374.
257 the engineers set off their dynamite . . . Ibid.
257 crazy or close to it . . . See, for instance, Fest, p. 60.
257 “I as your deputy” Mosley, p. 378.
257 “YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE” . . . Ibid., p. 381.
257 three trains had left . . . Nicholas, p. 319.
257 “The German army was retreating” . . . Alford, p. 31. ies of World War II, p. 30.
258 an American soldier named Jerome Shapiro . . . “GI Recalls the Capture of Holocaust Architect,” Los Angeles Daily News, May 4, 2005; “Jerome Shapiro, Caught Goering,” New York Times, April 10, 1968; author interview with Stephanie Mellen, Shapiro’s daughter, Jan. 25, 2007.
258 Operating under the delusion . . . Mosley, pp. 386–87.
258 the Americans ordered Goering . . . Ibid., p. 388.
258 deep within an air raid bunker . . . Nicholas, p. 320.
258 “The whole population seemed to be” . . . Ibid.
259 Grabbing anything they could carry . . . Ibid., and Howe, p. 190.
259 a Monuments Man named James Rorimer . . . James Rorimer, Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War, p. 199.
259 The Germans had flung tapestries . . . Nicholas, p. 320, and David Irving, p. 470.
259 The American soldiers collected . . . Nicholas, p. 320, and Alford, p. 37.
CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE: THE NEST EGG
260 Maj. Harry Anderson . . . Howe, p. 191, and “Goering Gave Nurse a $1,000,000 Vermeer,” New York Times, May 22, 1945.
261 “A large bedroom was almost filled” . . . White, pp. 72–74.
CHAPTER FIFTY- FOUR: TRAPPED!
262 “such a collection of what men call wealth” . . . White, p. 65.
262 tagged as item 5295 . . . Nancy Yeide, personal communication, Oct. 3, 2005. Yeide is head of the Department of Curatorial Rec ords at the National Gallery of Art in Washington,
D.C. She is completing a catalog of Goering’s entire painting collection. 262 rumors of “ hatchet day” . . . Maass, p. 245. 263 Before a Dutch policeman . . . Harry van Wijnen, personal communication, May 12, 2006. 263 Some 120,000 Dutch collaborators . . . The Dutch Resis tance Museum, p. 117. 263 a middleman did the actual work . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen. 264 secretly supported the Resis tance . . . Theodore Rousseau reported Miedl’s claim. See “Stylistic
Detection,” p. 252. 264 in the gray area between . . . Lynn Nicholas, personal communication, May 4, 2006. 264 At the end of a tangled and dubious . . . Nicholas, p. 106.
notes to pages 264 –273
264 Rienstra told Van Meegeren he was done . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen.
264 To get his money he would have to . . . Van Meegeren would later claim that he had never meant for Adultery to leave Holland and had certainly not wanted it to fall into German hands. He told his version of the story, in which it was Rienstra who took all the initiative, to a reporter from the Amersfoortse Courant, on July 19, 1946: “The painting Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery was hanging in my house when on a certain day Mr. Rienstra van Stuyvesande paid me a visit and showed great interest in a genuine Frans Hals that I owned. I didn’t want to sell that painting, but I showed him my ‘Vermeer’ instead. My visitor seemed interested and thought he could sell the painting for 2-million guilders. I emphasized that he should be careful not to sell the ‘Vermeer’ to Germany, but when he returned six weeks later I was startled to hear that the painting had been sold for 1,650,000 guilders to a certain Miedl, well known as a buyer for Goering. Since it would have been foolish to leave the proceeds to the middleman, I accepted, after some hesitation, a sum of 1,500,000 guilders for the painting.”
This was a lie. The reason Van Meegeren enlisted Rienstra in the first place was because of his ties to Miedl. And to deal with Miedl meant to deal with Goering. 264 Most forgers are finally caught . . . Jones, p. 15.
CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE: “I PAINTED IT MYSELF!”
265 Now Piller took it over . . . The description of Goudstikker’s dealership is from Frederik Kreuger, De Arrestatie van een Meestervervalser, p. 25. (The title means The Arrest of a Master Forger.)
266 They quickly found hoards . . . Harry van Wijnen, personal communication, May 28, 2006.
266 The penalty for treason . . . Author interview with Van Wijnen, Aug. 25, 2005.
267 “But what sort of nightclubs?” . . . Ibid.
267 Piller had unimpeachable testimony . . . Ibid.
267 paper was in such short supply . . . Maass, p. 208.
268 notorious Dutch Nazi named Martien Beversluis . . . Lopez, Sept. 29, 2006.
268 X-ray Goering’s “Vermeer” . . . Kreuger, De Arrestatie, p. 21, and Coremans, plate 55.
268 “I painted other Vermeers” . . . Kreuger, De Arrestatie, p. 21.
269 Sixty years later, a woman who worked . . . Frederik Kreuger interviewed Mrs. Pieternella van Waning- Heemskerk for De Arrestatie.
269 House arrest in such plush . . . This account, including the description of Van Meegeren working with Coremans and Froentjes, is based on Kreuger, De Arrestatie, p. 26.
270 “One unlucky day” . . . Schüller, p. 97.
271 “Nearly every story” . . . See, for instance, “Masterpieces Only,” Time, July 30, 1945, and “Dutch Cast Doubt on New Vermeers,” New York Times, July 24, 1945.
CHAPTER FIFTY- SIX: COMMAND PER FOR MANCE
272 Piller agreed that someone . . . Harry van Wijnen, author interview, Aug. 25, 2005.
273 “He Paints For His Life” . . . Kilbracken cites this headline (see p. 158), as does David Anderson in “Old Masters to Order: Forgery as a Fine Art,” New York Times Magazine, Dec. 23, 1945. Neither author mentions a newspaper, and I have been unable to find the headline myself.
273 “under the constant supervision of six” . . . “Han van Meegeren Vertelt,” Het Binnenhof, October 22, 1945.
notes to pages 273 –284
273 one of the secretaries gladly . . . Kreuger, De Arrestatie, p. 27.
273 “He is a simple, rather small” . . . “Han van Meegeren,” The Liberator, Oct. 31, 1945.
274 “Forgery of Paintings Discovered” . . . It was De Waarheid that had broken the news, a week
before, that Van Meegeren had given Hitler a book of drawings with a handwritten inscription.
274 perhaps a “German officer” . . . The American scholar Jonathan Lopez recently proved that Van Meegeren wrote both the inscription and the signature. Lopez, De Groene Amsterdammer, Sept. 29, 2006.
274 “Experts have hailed the picture” . . . “The Greatest Art Sensation of the Decade,” Illustrated London News, Nov. 3, 1945.
CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN: THE EVIDENCE PILES UP
276 As a young boy growing up . . . Kilbracken, p. 81.
276 Coremans’s team was sworn in . . . Coremans’s book detailing his findings is the best source
of technical information on Van Meegeren’s forgeries. 277 he had used India ink . . . Ibid., p. 23. 277 cobalt blue turned up . . . Ibid., p. 12. 277 Wooning found all the signs . . . Ibid., p. 5 and plate 45. 278 “I think it was just slovenliness” . . . Kraaijpoel, personal communication, March 15, 2006. 279 a painting by the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Abraham Hondius . . . Coremans, p. 39. This
evidence came to light after Van Meegeren’s trial.
CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT: THE TRIAL
280 The trial date was October 29, 1947 . . . The trial lasted only a single day. The details in this chapter come from coverage of the case in Dutch newspapers, from Doudart de la Grée’s eyewitness account in Geen Standbeeld voor Han van Meegeren, and from a brief Dutch newsreel entitled Proces van Meegeren, available from the Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid.
280 Over the course of ninety minutes . . . “Paintings as Silent Witnesses,” Volkskrant, Oct. 29, 1947. 280 in the fur collar and green glasses . . . “Van Meegeren Lawsuit,” Elseviers Weekblad, date unknown.
281 “big stuff ” . . . “Van Meegeren Before the Judge,” Het Parool, Oct. 29, 1947. 281 called to mind machine gun fire . . . Algemeen Handelsblad, Oct. 29, 1947 281 thinner than usual, almost frail . . . Doudart de la Grée. 281 He took a long moment . . . “Han van Meegeren on Trial,” De Tijd, Oct. 29, 1947. 281 its two huge and gleaming . . . “Van Meegeren Before the Judge,” Het Parool, Oct. 29, 1947. 281 “would have been the delight” . . . David Anderson, “Forging of Masters Admitted by Artist,”
New York Times, Oct. 30, 1947. 282 “As the cameras clicked” . . . “Van Meegeren in Courtroom Full of Paintings,” Trouw, Oct. 29, 1947.
282 “Welcome to Cinema Prinsengracht” . . . Unidentified newspaper, “Magic Lantern and ‘Vermeers’ as Court-room Décor,” Oct. 29, 1947. (Several newspaper clippings in the Dutch archives, the RKD, are incomplete.)
283 Why had Captain Piller kept . . . Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen. 284 he bought the Last Supper, too . . . van Beuningen offset part of the purchase price by turning over to Hoogendijk several pictures from his collection, including the Head of Christ.
notes to pages 284–292
Hoogendijk still owned that picture at the time of Van Meegeren’s trial, which presumably
shows he did not suspect it was fake.
284 “It’s difficult to explain” . . . Kilbracken, p. 180.
286 buried his face in both hands . . . “The Van Meegeren Trial,” Rotterdams Nieuwsbl ad, Oct. 30, 1947.
287 Van Meegeren and two friends . . . Doudart de la Grée, Geen Stanbeeld. De la Grée was one of Van Meegeren’s lunch companions.
CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE: THE PLAYERS MAKE THEIR EXITS
288 “I think I must take it” . . . “Calm at Sentencing,” New York Times, Nov. 13, 1947.
288 “the man who swindled Goering” . . . Irving Wallace, Saturday Eve ning Post, Jan. 11, 1947.
288 “I am for Han van Meegeren” . . . Vestdijk’s essay appeared in De Baanbreker, Jan. 1947. Van Wijnen quotes the passage cited here in Kraaijpoel and Van Wijnen.
289 “But it’s impossible!” . . . Helen Boswell, “Berlin Newsletter,” Art Digest, Jan. 1, 1948, and Feb. 15, 1948.
289 “It would be a colossal fraud” . . . David Irving, p. 305.
289 believed to the end that Emmaus . . . Albert Blankert personal communication, Feb. 15, 2007.
290 Jean Decoen, a Belgian art critic . . . Jean Decoen, Back to the Truth: Two Genuine Vermeers, p. 7.
290 “The whole picture reveals” . . . Ibid., p. 42.
290 “Listen, Monsieur Van Meegeren” . . . Ibid., p. 11.
EPILOGUE
291 “Yesterday this picture was worth millions” . . . Or so he supposedly said. I have not found Van Meegeren’s remark in any contemporary account of the trial, though perhaps he made his observation to a reporter or during a break rather than in a formal setting. The question, which is a good one, is often cited in discussions of forgery. See, for instance, Peter Landesman, “A Twentieth-Century Master Scam,” New York Times Magazine, July 18, 1999. Robertson Davies may offer a clue. In his essay “Painting, Fiction, and Faking” (included in the book The Merry Heart), Davies writes that Van Meegeren “asked a question which nobody attempted to answer; later, a play was written about him in which his question took this form.” Davies then gives the quote in its customary form. See The Merry Heart, p. 87.
291 were in fact merely snobs . . . Arthur Koestler put the snobbism case forcefully in “The Anatomy of Snobbery,” Anchor Review 1 (1955).
291 a brilliant collection of essays . . . The essay collection is Dutton, ed., The Forger’s Art: Forgery and the Philosophy of Art.
291 “He is great for that reason” . . . Italics in original. Alfred Lessing, “What Is Wrong with a Forger?” pp. 73–74, included in Dutton.
291 Dutton asks us to imagine . . . Years after Dutton’s thought experiment, the real- life case of the pianist Joyce Hatto turned on precisely such manipulations in the engineering studio.
292 the sort of disaster that engineers call . . . See Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents: Living with High- Risk Technologies (New York: Basic Books, 1984).
292 At a dozen places, Van Meegeren’s scheme . . . In a passage on normal accidents and airplane crashes, the writer and pilot William Langewiesche remarks, “As Charles Perrow mentioned to me, Murphy’s Law is wrong—what can go wrong usually goes right. But then
notes to pages 292 323
one day, a few of the bad little choices combine, and circumstances take an airplane down.” See Langewiesche, Inside the Sky (New York: Vintage, 1998), p. 196.
292 In September 2003, a museum in Bolton . . . “Museum Secures Rare Egyptian Sculpture,” BBC News, Sept. 30, 2003, and Martin Bailey, “How the Entire British Art World Was Duped by a Fake Egyptian Statue,” The Art Newspaper, May 2006.
292 by a self-taught English forger . . . “Fake It Till You Make It,” Newsweek, Dec. 24, 2007.


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 ISBN
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 Copyright
 2008 by Edward Dolnick 


Contents
Epigraph iii
Preface ix
Part One
OCCUPIED HOLLAND
1 A Knock on the Door 3
2 Looted Art 6
3 The Outbreak of War 9
4 Quasimodo 14
5 The End of Forgery? 18
6 Forgery 101 22
7 Occupied Holland 26
8 The War Against the Jews 30
9 The Forger’s Challenge 33
10 Bargaining with Vultures 40
11 Van Meegeren’s Tears 44
Part Two
HERMANN GOERING AND JOHANNES VERMEER
12 Hermann Goering 51
13 Adolf Hitler 55
14 Chasing Vermeer 57
15 Goering’s Art Collection 62
16 Insights from a Forger 66
17 The Amiable Psychopath 77
18 Goering’s Prize 82
19 Vermeer 85
20 Johannes Vermeer, Superstar 88
21 A Ghost’s Fingerprints 93
Part Three 
THE SELLING OF CHRIST AT EMM AUS
22 Two Forged Vermeers
23 The Expert’s Eye
24 A Forger’s Lessons
25 Bredius
26 “Without Any Doubt!”
27 The Uncanny Valley
28 Betting the Farm
29 Lady and Gentleman at the Harpsichord 139
30 Dirk Hannema 145
31 The Choice 150
32 The Caravaggio Connection 163
33 In the Forger’s Studio 167
34 Christ at Emmaus 170
35 Underground Tremors 173
35 Photographic Insert
36 The Summer of 1937
37 The Lamb at the Bank 186
38 “Every Inch a Vermeer” 192
39 Two Weeks and Counting 198
40 Too Late! 201
41 The Last Hurdle 203
42 The Unveiling 207
Part Four
ANATOMY OF A HOAX
43 Scandal in the Archives 213
44 All in the Timing 218
45 Believing Is Seeing 223
46 The Men Who Knew Too Much 227
47 Blue Monday 234
48 He Who Hesitates 239
49 The Great Changeover 243
Part Five
THE CHASE
50 The Secret in the Salt Mine 249
51 The Dentist’s Tale 252
52 Goering on the Run 256
53 The Nest Egg 260
54 Trapped! 262
55 “I Painted It Myself!” 265
56 Command Per for mance 272
57 The Evidence Piles Up 276
58 The Trial 280
59 The Players Make Their Exits 288
Epilogue 291
Notes 295
Bibliography 325
Ac knowledg ments 331
Index 333
About the Author
Other Books by Edward Dolnick
Credits
Cover
Copyright
About the Publisher
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