Who knew that a book about art forgery could read like a mystery? The Forger’s Spell tells the story of a second-rate Dutch painter who faked a number of Vermeers and other paintings that were stolen by the Nazis and who got caught as a result of the Allies’ subsequent accounting for the various stolen objects. The book includes pictures of the forgeries, which makes one wonder how the supposed experts could have been caught by the ugliest (non-)Vermeers I’ve ever seen, and makes a very effective point of showing how the forger exploited the needs and weaknesses of the experts at the time to his best advantage. There’s also a wonderful set of chapters on the techniques of the forger. I will never look at my oven in the same way now that I know how he baked the craquelure into the paintings.
An entertaining and instructive look into the world of art with an enticing mytery-writer style that makes you want to keep turning the pages.