The Museum of Hoaxes
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Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
Samsung invents the on/off switch
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Han van Meegeren, 1947
In 1947 Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), a Dutch artist and art dealer, was arrested for collaborating with the Nazis. He was charged with selling a painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-75) titled 'Christ and the Adulteress' to Reich Marshal Hermann Goering. This painting was considered a national treasure, making it a crime to sell it to the enemy.

Van Meegeren admitted selling the painting to Goering, but he defended himself by revealing that the painting was a forgery which he had painted himself. Surely it wasn't a crime to cheat the Nazis, he argued.

The authorities were reluctant to believe van Meegeren was talented enough to produce a work of such quality, so he proved it by painting another imitation Vermeer while in his prison cell.

It turned out that he had been churning out fakes for years, amassing a small fortune in the process. He owned 52 houses and numerous other properties. His most lucrative fake, Supper at Emmaus, painted in imitation of Vermeer, had sold in 1936 for 520,000 guilders.

He had turned to forgery both because it was highly lucrative and because he felt bitter that the art world had spurned his legitimate efforts.

He was convicted of forgery and sentenced to prison, but died of a heart attack before he served any time.
Categories: Art, Art Forgery, Forgers, 1914-1949
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.