Faking it: Han van Meegeren’s ‘Vermeers’ and the Aesthetical Value of Forgery

Han van Meegeren (1889–1947) remains in history as the creator of the most scandalous forgeries of 17th-century artworks by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. An alleged Nazi collaborator, a drug addict, a promising artist, victim of unjustified criticism, Van Meegeren has been the subject of much art historical debate. Two main questions raised by his work will thus be the subject of this article: what was it that made his forgeries so plausible that they fooled major authorities of the art world, and are his paintings…