As a paintings conservator, I am sometimes contacted by excited individuals who hope that they have acquired a valuable painting at a yard sale but it is actually a print. Sometimes I have to be the bearer of bad news. This is a copy of the correspondence to a telephone call at 8:01 am.

Good morning,

That is a somewhat haunting image. Just looking at your photo gave me a strong feeling that something is wrong. It starts with the frame which is a not so great modern copy of a Louis XIV frame with unrealistic patina. The fabric liner is contemporary and dirty so I am thinking modern right off. The stains look like acid burns which make me think that it is on paper with an acidic backing and not a painting on canvas. The paint film does have impasto but many copies have that applied after the printing process.

Your image is the copy found on the cover of the book called: The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren. However, the original fake appears in the National Museum which is clearly an oil painting. Your image is cropped and does not show all of the visual information shown in the original fake.

I think you have a printed copy of the fake Vermeer. I advise that you save the money instead of engaging an appraiser as an art professional because appraisals cost from $750 to $1500 and appraisers do not do authentications. Authentications may start at $3000 and are performed by teams of art professionals including art connoisseurs, museum curators, art conservators, and conservation scientists. Going out on a limb here, I think your artwork is worth the $30 that you paid for it. So I think we saved you a considerable sum of money and you got a freebee consult but you were the most interesting call all day, even at 8:00 am! And you have a nice copy too.

Keep looking for treasures! They are out there.


Chris Kenney