Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pg. 69: Edward Dolnick's "The Forger's Spell"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Edward Dolnick's The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century.

About the book, from the publisher:
As riveting as a World War II thriller, The Forger's Spell is the true story of Johannes Vermeer and the small-time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him centuries later. The con man's mark was Hermann Goering, one of the most reviled leaders of Nazi Germany and a fanatic collector of art.

It was an almost perfect crime. For seven years a no-account painter named Han van Meegeren managed to pass off his paintings as those of one of the most beloved and admired artists who ever lived. But, as Edward Dolnick reveals, the reason for the forger's success was not his artistic skill. Van Meegeren was a mediocre artist. His true genius lay in psychological manipulation, and he came within inches of fooling both the Nazis and the world. Instead, he landed in an Amsterdam court on trial for his life.

ARTnews called Dolnick's previous book, the Edgar Award-winning The Rescue Artist, "the best book ever written on art crime." In The Forger's Spell, the stage is bigger, the stakes are higher, and the villains are blacker.
Among the praise for the book:
"When it comes to forgery and its ability to fascinate, the bigger the better, and the greater the audacity the more compelling. In the story of a two-bit Dutch painter, Han Van Meegeren, who had the nerve to take on that most rarefied of his artistic compatriots, Johannes Vermeer, author Edward Dolnick has hit the mother lode."
--Los Angeles Times

"Dolnick ... tells his story engagingly and with a light touch. He has a novelist's talent for characterization, and he raises fascinating questions."
--New York Times

"Mesmerizing account of an amateur artist who made millions selling forged paintings to art-obsessed Nazis and business tycoons.... Energetic and authoritative."
--Kirkus, starred review

"... extraordinary ... fascinating ... compelling ..."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"... engrossing and jaw-dropping ..."
--Rocky Mountain News
Read an excerpt from The Forger's Spell, and learn more about the author and his work at Edward Dolnick's website.

Edward Dolnick is the author of Down the Great Unknown, The Rescue Artist, and Madness on the Couch. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, he has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.

The Page 69 Test: The Forger's Spell.

--Marshal Zeringue