Japan Loves Fake Vermeers

Posted: Tuesday, 11-05-2010

Video clip from a Japanese exposé of the most notorious forger of the 20th century, Han van Meegeren who fooled the art establishment—and the Nazi leadership.

He created and successfully sold a series of religious paintings that purported to be from a lost period in Vermeer’s early career. Han van Meegeren’s forgeries fooled the artistic elite—a clique he could never be part of—but his greatest triumph, a fake Vermeer, nearly cost him his life. When it was found in the possession of Hermann Göring in 1945, Van Meegeren was fingered as the man who sold it to an art dealer, who in turn sold it to the Nazi commander. On trial for treason, Van Meegeren escaped the death penalty by admitting he was a first-rate forger. 

His works -- masterpieces in their own right -- are being exhibited at the Hague Museum