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The Washing of the Feet
The Washing of the Feet
115 x 95 cm, painted around 1942-43

A strong contender for the position of worst of Van Meegeren's forgeries, in 1943 this painting, unbelievably, was bought by the Dutch government. The go-betweens this time were another old friend, Jan Kok (who knew so little about art that he had never even heard of Vermeer!) and P. de Boer, an Amsterdam dealer. A Government committee was set up to consider the work and, despite the fact that none of them liked it and one member even declared it to be a forgery, it was recommended that the Government purchase it on behalf of the Rijksmuseum. No scientific examination, which could have exposed the work as a fake, was carried out. The picture was sold for 1,300,000 guilders, about 3.2M GB pounds today.

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