Art forgery has always been a crime that has interested me, and one of the most notorious art forgers is the subject of a very good book, The Forgert’s Spell by Edward Dolnick.
During the 1930’s and ’40’s, Hans Van Meegeren was a Dutch painter who fooled the art world with his paintings that were credited to the 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. He didn’t copy existing Vermeers and try to sell them. He painted works on new themes and said he had “discovered” unknown Vermeers. Hermann Goering, second only to Hitler in the Nazi party, bought one of his fake Vermeers as a genuine one. Because of this sale, when the Netherlands was liberated, Van Meegeren was charged with working with the enemy. To save himself from being labeled a traitor and possibly executed, Van Meergeren had to prove he was a forger.
To learn more, check out this book’s site on Goodreads.