THE GREATEST FORGER IN THE WORLD – HANS VAN MEEGEREN
Just imagine that you are looking around the Louvre museum and admiring Mona Lisa portrait. How can you tell that you are looking at the authentic, genuine piece of art?
I strongly believe that not only ordinary people, but scholars, professors of art and museum curators will likely fail to see the difference.
It is not known how much treasure in the world galleries and museums is actually forged. Some of the forged items will never be revealed. For, the forgers are much more skilled and cleverer than some world experts and artists. This was the case with Hans Van Meegeren, whose forger`s career was revealed in very strange circumstances.
Our story begins in 1945 after the break of Nazi Germany. In the first days after the end of the war, the war criminals as well as their property were much hunted for. The allies took all the treasure and the invaluable artistic pieces that the Nazis took or even paid for ( which was very rare) from other nations during the war. Many of such world known master pieces were found in Herman Gereng`s villa, amongst which a picture of “A woman caught in adultery” by Jan Vermeer was also found, and it is believed that the painting was redeemed fairly from a Dutch painter for £ 160.000. All the investigation clues were leading to one person, Hans Van Meegeren who was soon arrested and taken to court.
He was accused of betrayal and cooperation with the Nazis and he was facing a death penalty. In order to stay alive, Hans was forced to confess everything. He denied that he had ever cooperated with the Nazis, instead he would make fools out of them. He even fooled Gereng himself, because the painting he had sold to Gereng was not a genuine one; it was a painting done by Hans Van Meegeren himself. He even admitted that he had sold a dozen of other paintings by Vermeer for a lot of money around the world.
Hans Van Meegeren was born on 10.10.1889, at 16.22, Deventer, Netherlands
His Ascendant in his 17th field is Pisces, which shows clearly that he is fond of art. The ruler of the Ascendant, i.e. Neptune (art) is in conjunction with Pluto (someone else`s property), which indicates that Hans forged other people`s art works and sold them for loads of money. This aspect was the leading clue in bringing Hans Van Meegeren in connection with selling and locating Vermeer`s famous painting of a woman In Gereng`s villa, because Neptune (artistic painting) is in conjunction with Pluto ( Nazis). Neptune presents deceit and lies, which indicates that Hans deceived Gereng.
When he got arrested, Hans decided to tell the truth. His 12th field (prison) begins in Aquarius( truth), the ruler of which is Uranus (truth) in the 7th field(in the court). Uranus is in the 22nd field (to be executed) in 7th field (according to the conviction),therefore it was obvious to Hans that he was facing execution unless he tells the truth. His love for freedom prevailed (Uranus) as well as his love for life (Conjunct with Sun) prevailed, so he admitted he was a forger and thus saved his own life.
At first, the people at the court did not believe him, which is no wonder taken into account that tens of world experts, artists and curators were convinced that the painting “ A woman caught in adultery” was originally done by J. Vermen. People with their Ascendant in Pisces are not likely to be trusted by others. That was the case with Hans Van Meegeren, who made an unusual offer to the court, an offer that could not be refused- he suggested to paint J. Vermeer`s painting in front of the witnesses at the court. The judge accepted and gave him a chance.
Venus ( a painting at the top of 7th field ( trial), and the ruler of the 7th field, Mercury in Pisces( to paint) clearly indicates that Hans was painting whilst on trial. His work was called “Jesus among the doctors”, which is in accordance with his Ascendant in Pisces (Jesus, doctors), which influenced his choice of his work.
Fortuna, the Arab point of luck in 7th field (trial) and his good aspect of his second ruler of his Ascendant Jupiter in 10th field (success), together with Mercury ( the ruler of 7th field-court) have all contributed to his liberation. However his freedom was not long lasting, because he was soon taken to court again due to his deceit, and was convicted on 12 month of prison. Six weeks after Hans had a heart attack and died- Uranus, the ruler of 12th field (prison) is in conjunction with the Sun (heart attack).
One other important moment in his life explains why Hans decided to become a forger-this was when a highly respected and pompous professor Dr Abraham Bredius made a sharp criticism of Hans`s work at his exhibition in the Hague. That was considered to be the end of Hans Van Meegeren. Soon after, Hans started copying the work of Vermeer, who was most respected by Abraham Bredius.
During 1936. Hans was working on his great piece of art, perfectly copied Vermeer`s work, which was called “ Jesus and his disciples in Emmaus”. Then he elaborated on the his delicate process of making the painting look 300 years older than it really was. When his painting was finished, Hans offered it to a French solicitor. The solicitor wanted to make sure that the painting was genuine so he asked for Dr Abraham Bredius`s advice, him being the leading world expert when Vermeer`s work is in question. Bredius undeniably acknowledged that the painting was genuine. Hans Van Megeeren had his sweet laughter upon this news.
The 7th field describes our public enemies, i.e. people who fell out with us publicly. His 7th field begins on the 17th degree( the degree of Leo- the professor), whose ruler is retrograde Mercury in Libra on 28th degree overlapping also with 29th degree ( degree of Leo- professor). Mercury is almost at the top of 8th field( Scorpio-revenge), which explains why Hans Van Megereen wants to get revenge from the professor who had ruined his career. Another indicator that the professor is an enemy is the Sun( professor) in 7th field. The Sun is in conjunction with the ruler of the 12th field (deceit, conspiracy), so eventually he succeeded in deceiving Dr Bredius by offering his forged work which was thought to be pure original by Dr Bredius.