Christ and the Adulteress
h 100 cm x w 90 cm
In 1943, via an art broker, Hermann Goering purchased this ‘Vermeer’ for the astronomical amount of 1.65 million guilders. The seller was the painter and art dealer Han van Meegeren.
When he was arrested after the war for collaborating with the Nazis, Van Meegeren confessed that the canvas was not a Vermeer, but had been painted by him. Much like a number of other works of his that had been sold as genuine. An in-depth investigation revealed that Van Meegeren had been skilfully producing counterfeits for the longest time and thanks to this had become a millionaire. The charge against him was changed from collaboration to forgery. Van Meegeren was sentenced to one year in prison but in 1947, before he could serve out his sentence, he died of a heart attack. His deepest desire – to achieve fame – was realized, but he never benefited. The New York Times once ran this notable headline about his escapades: ‘The Man Who Swindled Goering’.