Art Crime: Han Van Meegeren - the Man who Forged Vermeer's Paintings
Lecturer: Malcolm Kenwood
Location: DESY Auditorium
Attic of Herengracht 465 Amsterdam, Bureau Bestrij
The forger demonstrated the techniques he had used to create several convincing Vermeer forgeries
Dutch artist and forger Han Van Meegeren committed the most lucrative, audacious art fraud of the 20th century. Today he is renowned as "The Man Who Made Vermeers" and duped a certain buyer, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring.
This lecture explores his extraordinary life, from a childhood passion for the 17th century painters of the Dutch Golden Age, his mixed fortune as an artist in his own right before developing a career as an art forger and criminal fraudster. It reveals how he slowly evolved the techniques to deceive the most authoritative art historians of the day.
He flourished just before and during the Second World War with a prodigious output of forged works eagerly purchased by wealthy Dutchmen. Despite the tumultuous conditions of that period he generated incredible wealth. Van Meegeren enjoyed an exotic lifestyle of wine, women and locations.
The sale of his ‘Vermeer’, Christ with the Adulteress, in 1943 to Göring would ultimately lead to his downfall and arrest in 1945 as a collaborator, punishable by death.
An incredible story of cunning, greed, treason, love and life.
Malcolm is an experienced retired specialist police and private detective, investigating art and antique crime. He was formerly the Recoveries Director for the Art Loss Register which operates an international commercial database of stolen cultural property. He formed his own company and developed training programmes designed to educate law enforcement officers in all aspects of this area of criminal activity, undertaken in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit at New Scotland Yard, London. He has lectured to police conferences, customs officers, auction house staff, museum employees, Interpol and FBI.
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