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Springfield exhibit explores deceit in art world

John Myatt’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (top left) is a copy of Vermeer’s original (top right). Han van Meegeren’s “The Procuress” (above right) is a forgery of Dirck van Baburen’s 1622 painting (above left).
John Myatt’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (top left) is a copy of Vermeer’s original (top right). Han van Meegeren’s “The Procuress” (above right) is a forgery of Dirck van Baburen’s 1622 painting (above left).CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: WASHINGTON GREEN FINE ART & CASTLE GALLERIES; SCALA; THE SAMUEL COURTAULD TRUST; MFA BOSTON

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The phony Matisse is the first thing you see when you walk into the gallery, not far from a fake Picasso and a sham of a Vermeer.

Forgeries at the museum? Don’t call the FBI in just yet. These paintings are among more than 60 works in an unorthodox exhibition that opens Tuesday at Springfield’s D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

While museums have historically loathed even whispers of counterfeits, the Springfield show embraces the imitations. “Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World” might be the most authoritative exhibition yet detailing the multimillion-dollar copycat industry, telling the stories of five prominent forgers who painted in a range of styles.

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