How a Forger Fooled Vermeer-Lovers

20th-century painter made millions and tricked a powerful Nazi
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2008 12:23 PM CDT
"Kitchen Maid," by Johannes Vermeer.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Johannes Vermeer created only a few dozen paintings in his lifetime, while other major 17th-century artists cranked out 10 times that. That helped a mediocre Dutch painter  create convincing forgeries in the 20th century, NPR reports in a look at a new book on one of art's great hoaxes and its undoing. 

Han van Meegeren perfected a technique to artificially age his paintings, using melted plastic and a pizza oven, and painted with intentional inaccuracy so as to avoid close inspection by art experts. His fakes were wildly popular among art lovers and historians, as well as Germany's second-most-powerful Nazi, whom van Meegeren took particular pleasure in duping.