Van Meegeren always claimed that he became a forger in the 1930s, painting the Emmaus as "one in the eye" for those critics who had failed to recognise his true genius (as he saw it). This explanation has been generally accepted by default down the years.|
But a new book by the American writer and art historian Jonathan Lopez, The Man Who Made Vermeers, published in 2008, reveals that, on the contrary, van Meegeren had been a professional forger and a member of forgery rings since the early 1920s. Not only that but he was, contrary to his reputation as the man who "cocked a snook" at Goering, a fascist and admirer of Hitler. Indeed, he even sent Hitler a book of his drawings, inscribed by hand "To my beloved Fuhrer ...".
Mr. Lopez's detailed and well-researched book is a major addition to the literature on Han van Meegeren.