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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply, brilliant...,
Wynne's book, described last weekend by The Observer as 'gripping and psychologically fascinating', seeks to do more than simply recount this most interesting of stories. It gets inside van Meegeren's head, and in doing so sheds new light on one of the most intriguing characters the art world has ever seen.
This is just a fascinating story, brilliantly told. Very highly recommended.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable,
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great rollicking read,
As compelling as the story itself are the details on the long, careful process involved in the forger's deception.
And perhaps most interesting of all is the debate it forces on what constitutes a masterpiece: how our perception of a work of art is influenced by the surrounding acclaim, or lack thereof - how easily our tastes are cowed into mainstream definitions of greatness by purported experts, perhaps concerned more with covering their asses than furthering the cause of artistry.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, beautifully written,
I found it un-put-downable and I was left with a smile on my face having finished reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!,
This review is from: I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis (Paperback)This book beautifully portrayed the character of Han van Meegeren; intricately described his forgery techniques; and set out a fascinating overall view of the world of art fakery and forgery. Quite appropriately it flagged up many questions, as well as providing explanations!
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting and enlightening book!,
This review is from: I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis (Paperback)For an entertaining and mind-boggling read, this is an easily recommended book that gives an eye-opening peek into the world of art snobbery, and leaves one wondering whether the old-Masters works that are on display around the world are young masters in disguise!!
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read,
This review is from: I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis (Paperback)I really enjoyed this book, and read it over the course of a couple of days - in fact I very nearly missed my stop on the bus on one occasion because I was so engrossed.
I only have a couple of quibbles. The prose is often quite deliriously "purple" and over the top, which does sometimes get rather tiring. Much is made on the book's jacket and in the accompanying blurb that Van Meegren "swindled the Nazis" and yet scant reference is made to this in the text; it gets a couple of brief mentions and that is that. It seems slightly desperate of the author/publisher to make this a major selling point of the book when it is so briefly and sketchily mentioned in the text itself.
The major ommission is in the plates. Most of the book's action centres around Van Meergren's "masterpiece" of "The Supper at Emmaus" (it was his first and most important art fraud) - and yet there is no illustration of this whatsoever. There's a picture of Vermeer's "Girl with a pearl earring" upon which, it is said, Van Meergren based the face of the serving girl in "The Supper at Emmaus", which seems rather redundant, as "Girl with a pearl earring" is probably one of the world's most famous faces in art, probably only second to The Mona Lisa. Given this, was it necessary to include a reproduction, to the exclusion of the work around which the entire book revolves? I know, a minor quibble, but a quibble nonetheless. The book would have been a much better read with the addition of a single illustration; one around which the entire book revolves.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable look into the art world,
This review is from: I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis (Paperback)"I was Vermeer" is a fascinating little book and you'll never be able to go to an art museum again and not wonder if what you are looking at is "real" or not. The book has two themes running through it. The first revolves around the autobiography of Han van Meegeren, a talented artist whose affair with an art critic's wife ruins his career. Ultimately, Van Meegeren turns to revenge against the art world that has spurned him. His forgeries of Vermeer are so convincing, they are hung in major museums and private collections. If it were not for the fact that one was eventually bought by notorious Nazi Hermann Göring, the world would still be marvelling at Vermeer's "De Emausgangers." And this leads into the author's second theme. What is art really and just how "fake" are these forgeries? It's an interesting question, especially when we learn that Rembrandt himself signed works done by his students. The question of what is authentic takes on a whole new meaning. Frank Wynne spends a good deal of time exploring the role of the art critic in our perceptions of what makes art. It's well worth the read for anyone interested in art and modern culture.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book,
This review is from: I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis (Paperback)The story of master art forger and hero Hans Van Meegeren is told in a concise and interesting way.
It unmasks issues about the politics of Art experts, the Art market, auction houses, and most poignantly,
the personal plight of artists themselves, incarnated here by Van Meegeren,
who makes fools of them all, including the Nazi. Most deliciously, it is a true story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and thought provoking,
The author has done his home work well, not least on the complex technical aspects of painting and it's a most competently researched book. I learnt a lot from it.
On a side note, an incidental one, it is interesting that an Irishman writing about a Dutch (lapsed) Roman Catholic uses the King James Bible for his quotes from St Luke's Gospel. And they read well.
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I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis by Frank Wynne (Paperback - 20 Aug 2007)