- Books

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century

The Forger s Spell A True Story of Vermeer Nazis and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century As riveting as a World War II thriller The Forger s Spell is the true story of three men and an extraordinary deception the revered artist Johannes Vermeer the small time Dutch painter who dared to i

  • Title: The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century
  • Author: Edward Dolnick
  • ISBN: 9780060825423
  • Page: 336
  • Format: Paperback
  • As riveting as a World War II thriller, The Forger s Spell is the true story of three men and an extraordinary deception the revered artist Johannes Vermeer the small time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him years later and the con man s mark, Hermann Goering, the fanatical art collector and one of Nazi Germany s most reviled leaders.

    • [PDF] Download ✓ The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century | by ↠ Edward Dolnick
      336 Edward Dolnick
    • thumbnail Title: [PDF] Download ✓ The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century | by ↠ Edward Dolnick
      Posted by:Edward Dolnick
      Published :2019-02-25T05:49:37+00:00

    1 thought on “The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century

    1. "Yesterday this picture was worth millions of guilders, and experts and art lovers would come from all over the world and pay money to see it," he declared at his trial. "Today, it is worth nothing, and nobody would cross the street to see it for free. But the picture has not changed. What has?"Van Meegeren presumably had an unflattering answer in mind. The picture had not changed, but it had lost its glamour. Why? Because the "experts and art lovers" were as fake as it was. The world was full o [...]

    2. My review is going to be choppy, like this book. Yes, at times it was a fascinating read, but I think the author tried to cram too much information into one book. It was extensively researched and annotated, but jumped from subject to subject without much continuity. It was part technical manual (forgery 101), biography, art history, art hoaxes, and WWII history (in particular the Nazi looting of Europe’s works of art). One good thing about this book was that it made me want to read several ot [...]

    3. As the title suggests, this book tells the story of the greatest art hoax of the 20th century, but it does more than that. In a choppy style (most chapters ran from 5 to 8 pages) we are introduced to a range of diverse areas of knowledge that indeed we should know something about to better appreciate the context and significance of this art hoax. There are several interesting asides along the way, popping in as footnotes--although for references to sources cited and direct quotes embedded in the [...]

    4. A big part of this narrative focused on the role psychology played in duping art experts; how Van Meegeren's forgeries seemed custom-made for the art experts that he fooled, as he appealed to "what they wanted to see" and thus could get away with painting mediocre works that still sold for millions. Similar thing with reviewing The Forger's Spell. I happen to be a sucker for art, history, psychology, and a yarn well spun, and so this book seemed custom-made for me. I know not everyone necessaril [...]

    5. what could have been a fascinating story, somewhat ruined by lengthy digressions. that the author includes a survey of 20th Century art forgery is no shocker. that he cites to stories out of Gladwell's 'Blink' and other psychological studies is somewhat less pleasing. I would say that the proportion of story that relates to the title and the various ratholes needed to be reversed.

    6. Initial thoughts on completion:This was a really fascinating book. It combined several of my favorite subjects, and in some cases informed new interests - history in general, World War II, Nazis, art in general, Vermeer, Dutch painting, forensic analysis, psychological motivation, crime, and detective work. I feel like a much more rounded person having read this. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold and Dolnick did a great job of providing other examples and similar scenarios to explain [...]

    7. The Forger's Spell is the true story of Han van Meegeren, a not-so-great painter living in Holland during the Nazi occupation. What van Meegeren lacked in artistic talent, he more than made up for in his skills of psychology deception. When his own paintings couldn't sell, he turned to forging those of Johannes Vermeer (the Dutch painter of Girl with the Pearl Earring fame). He swindled over $30 million dollars from investors, much of it from German war criminals. Dolnick's book is a perfect mix [...]

    8. A choppy account of how Han van Meegeren duped art experts and Hermann Goering with his terrible Vermeer forgeries, this book would probably be more enjoyable for someone who doesn't know much about the Old Masters. The author approaches the topic in the form of article-like sections about occupied Holland, painting techniques used by forgers, the psychology of duping people into accepting forgeries, the biographies of the key figures, etc. The chronology becomes quite muddled and I also got the [...]

    9. "So primed are we to see what we want to see (and to reject what runs counter to our hopes and expectations) that psychologists and economists have coined an entire vocabulary to describe the ways we mislead ourselves. 'Conformation bias' is the broad heading. The idea is that we tell ourselves we are making decisions based on the evidence, though in fact we skew the results by grabbing up welcome news without a second glance while subjecting unpleasant facts to endless testing."

    10. "The Forger's Spell" by Edward Dolnick is a well told story about one of the most infamous art forgery cases of the 20th century. Han van Meegeren spent the duration of WW2 painting Vermeers; and what makes this case so fascinating - besides the big name artist he picked - was the way the critics fell head over heels for these forgeries, calling them Vermeer's best work. And if that wasn't enough, the story is made more intriguing by the fact that Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe and o [...]

    11. Art theft and Art forgery go hand in glove, and both have always been of interest to me for some reason. Maybe it's the inherent sleight-of-hand in all the arts -- can you really paint a woman's face without daVinci coming to mind, can you really write a tragic play without thinking of the greeks ? For the moderns, this legerdemain was taken in stride, exalted even, by the time of say, Duchamp & Pablo P. But there was theft for art's sake and theft for theft's sake, and therein lies the tale [...]

    12. Rating: 3* of fiveHere we have a non-fictional account of the 20th century's most astoundingly, resoundingly, and undeservedly successful art forgery scam.In very, very brief, it's the story of a Dutch forger who cons Goering out of *boatloads* of cash for fake Vermeers. The book presents us with the fakes in a photo section. I simply cannot believe that anyone not completely blind and thus viewing these horribly hideous daubs in Braille could be taken in by them.There are quite a few characters [...]

    13. This is a fascinating story, both because of the events and because of the treatment.Each of the many chapters could be read on its own, because each gives one aspect of the subject in depth while also reflecting the subject as a whole. The first impression might be that the author repeats himself a lot; but it is probably better to see this as a fractile approach, exploring each facet in relation to the others.I was especially struck by the author's contention that contemporary forgeries tend t [...]

    14. This is the brilliantly ironic true story of a WWII-era art forger who could not paint. The title is a bit misguiding; the focus on the Nazis and World War II wanes in comparison to its emphasis on the tactics of art forgeries, the reality of peer pressure, the faux-credibility of connoisseurs and the story of Van Meegeren (the book's lovable Vermeer forger). Dolnick has an interesting way of piecing the story together, with chronology not necessarily the glue holding it together. It reads like [...]

    15. I did not like this as much as I was hoping to. While billed as something of an adventure, I found the story itself to be bogged down with too many names, places, art history and psychological details that were disruptive to a smooth-flowing narrative. While the art hoax itself was great - including technical specifics about how one goes about forging 300-year old paintings - it really didn't come into play until the last 1/4 of the book. In my opinion, a much shorter book - or even a lengthy ma [...]

    16. All the back history to the scam was interesting and informative, but Dolnick adds all this material about how the scam actually works on the psyche of the victims and it just goes on forever and seems to repeat itself.

    17. My book group read this one and was evenly divided between the do like/don't like. I found it quite interesting.

    18. Great topic, so it was quite disappointing to me how difficult it was to slog through the writing.

    19. Famous art, a wily forger, nasty Nazis. What more could you want? LA Time gave this a very good reviewtimes/entertainment/

    20. The story deserves 4 starsbut, I was disappointed in Mr. Dolnick's style of writing, (it was a struggle to finish this book!).

    21. This one took me FOREVER to read, but I loved every single minute. There is a lot interwoven here - some WWII history, the tale of competition in art collection among top Nazis, a lot about Vermeer himself and his contemporaries, and tons of the art and science of creating forgeries. I knew a little about this story – only as the tale of a man who outed himself as forger to avoid being prosecuted as Nazi collaborator (at worst) or sympathizer (at best). The actual story and how it all came out [...]

    22. The subtitle, "A true story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the greatest art hoax of the Twentieth Century," suggests the strength and weakness of Dolnick's book. While it tends to be a bit choppy, leading the reader down many rabbit holes; those rabbit holes are fascinating.

    23. The Forger's Tale is the story of one of the greatest - and most improbable - art frauds of the twentieth century. Han van Meegeren was a mediocre Dutch artist whose original artwork was panned by critics as shallow and insipid. After years of trying (and failing) to win recognition and respect with his own work, he decided instead to turn to forgery, and in the 1930s, he forged seven paintings by the great Dutch artist Vermeer, as well as paintings by ter Borch and Hals. Today, it's almost impo [...]

    24. Han van Meegeren was a Dutchman who wanted to be a painter, but whatever he tried was unacceptable to the critics. Then one day he decided to paint under another countryman's name -- Vermeer. His efforts with the new name were met with wild enthusiasm. van Meegeren found 17th century canvas and wood and went to great lengths to discover a method of "aging" his work -- even down to the nails and wood canvas supports-- so that it looked original. As this work was accepted, he engaged a middleman a [...]

    25. This book was SO interesting! It's the true story of an artist who just wasn't that popular with his own work. So before and during WWII when the Nazis were famously stealing art from all over Europe, this artist paints a few Vermeer paintings and people fall for them absolutely. Goering buys one, as do some famous museums for MILLIONS of dollars. This book explains how a forger goes about reproducing a 17th century painting, how and why people fall for it. The funny thing is, the public (and my [...]

    26. Read as part of my art forgery kick (also read Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger and The Art Forger; with a few others waiting in the wings). All the forgery books mention this guy, whose forgeries were so convincing that he had to paint another in prison to convince people he hadn't sold real old masters to the Nazis. Except that, according to this book, they weren't that great. It includes reproduc [...]

    27. I came across this book while picking up another from the library, and my eye caught Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring peeking out from the bottom left corner of the cover. I've never been able to avoid staring at that beautiful painting, wherever I see it, and that was all it took for me to add it to my reading list. Then, I found that there were actually quite a few books written about the forger who sold nearly $30 million (in today's dollars) of fake Dutch masters during the late 1930s and [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *