New Blog: Who’s Afraid of the Art Critics? The Last Vermeer and Popular Art Skepticism

In Dan Friedkin’s 2020 historical drama The Last Vermeer, the protagonist Han van Meegeren (played by Guy Pearce) takes the stand to defend himself in court. Van Meegeren stood accused of selling paintings by Johannes Vermeer to Nazi officers, a crime of collaboration that carried the death penalty. In the film’s climax, Van Meegeren reveals that he did not in fact sell genuine Vermeers to the Nazis: he had forged every single one. Once his deception was revealed, Van Meegeren called out into the hubbub of the courtroom: “Only one minute ago, these paintings were considered sublime and priceless. Now they are worthless and not one brushstroke has changed!”

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