The painting above, titled "Young Woman
Seated at a Virginals," was just recently attributed to the famous 17th
century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Only 35 other paintings survive
by this artist, and each is enormously valuable. This particular
painting was NOT accepted as authentic until recently, partly because
it was associated with a forgery scandal in the 1940s, when Han van
Meegeren, a gifted Dutch forger, successfully fooled the world with his
copies of pictures in the style of Vermeer and other Dutch masters.
Only recently have scientific studies shown that the pigments and
canvas of this picture match those used by Vermeer. But wait!
Experts still argue that the quality is not up to the standards of a
true Vermeer--couldn't someone else have acquired a piece of canvas
from Vermeer to create this picture? Maybe a student? Maybe a
Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see this picture and make
your own decision. The picture will only be there until March. It is on
loan by the private collector who purchased the painting--the identity
of the buyer has been kept secret. To decide if this is a real
Vermeer, compare this work to Vermeer's other known paintings.
Some of the best can be found in the Louvre (http://www.louvre.fr/louvrea.htm
the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/psearch
and the Metropolitan Museum of New York (http://www.MetMuseum.org
the comparisons. What do you think?
The price of $30 million is low for a picture by Vermeer, but the
auction house estimate was even lower. What does that mean in solving
For anyone interested in Vermeer, see the current movie, Girl with the Pearl Earring.
Much of the script is fiction, but the setting is accurate (17th
century Delft in Holland) and the mysterious nature of the movie is
just what we might expect of Vermeer.