The most notorious and celebrated forger of the twentieth century, Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), was born in the Dutch town of Deventer. He was fascinated by drawing as a child, and pursued it despite his father’s disapproval, sometimes spending all his pocket money on art supplies. In high school he was able finally to receive professional instruction, and went on to study architecture, according to his father’s wishes. In 1911 he married Anna de Voogt. His artistic talents were recognized when he soon after won first prize and a gold medal from the General Sciences Section of the Delft Institute of Technology for a drawing of a church interior. He agreed to sell this drawing, but was discovered by his wife making a copy of it to sell as the original. She dissuaded him from carrying out this small swindle, but the incident is the first evidence of an interest in faking, even if in this case the artist was merely forging his own prize-winning work.
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