Cautionary Tales The Art Forger, the Nazi, and “The Pope”

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“The Pope” was a revered Dutch art expert – and yet he fell for a not very convincing forgery of a “lost” Vermeer masterpiece. The forger had duped other art connoisseurs too – including the high ranking Nazi Hermann Göring. But perhaps Han van Meegeren’s biggest con was to convince the Dutch public that he was a cheeky resistance hero.

We assume knowledge and intelligence can protect us from being duped, but often they are not enough to save us from the fraudster’s greatest ally: our own wishful thinking.

The Host

Tim Harford

Tim Harford’s long-running column in the Financial Times, “The Undercover Economist,” reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His first book, The Undercover Economist, was published in 30 languages and sold…