[MEEGEREN, Hans van, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'This painful incident ...'

[MEEGEREN, Hans van (1889-1947). Dutch painter and art forger.]
Manuscript Apologia in the form of an article 'The Curtain Falls', attributed to van Meegeren's daughter, presumably Pauline (known later as Inez). Four pages 4to on separate leaves of flimsy blue paper, heavily corrected in parts [1950].

Commencing with a brief attempt to explain van Meegeren's motives, and describing his depredations on the international art market as 'this painful incident', the article gives a preview of the forthcoming auction of the forger's assets ('The whole estate of the bankrupt painter, comprising 738 lots, will be auctioned by the well-known broker, Paul Brant') and lists several of the (genuine) pictures that will be included, explaining that the house had already been sold prior to the auction.

Van Meegeren had filed for bankrupty in 1945, two years before his trial and conviction for forgery and his death in 1947. Far from being penniless, however, he had, by the subterfuge of a nominal divorce from his wife, handed over sufficient wealth to enable her, following his death, to live for many years in considerable luxury. The auction of his property took place on 5 and 6 September 1950, the house having been sold on the 4th [Wikipedia]. It seems that this manuscript was written shortly before the date of the sales.

'... The last act of the drama is, then, about to begin. The curtain falls irrevocably and all that remains are the fooled experts, the theorists and psychologists to get into each others hair. For the good name of art experts in general it is essential that this painful incident be forgotten as quickly as possible, in particular for the memory of a man who made mistakes, and who would have paid the penalty, if death had not intervened.'

£225 [No: 25741]
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