Imagine for a moment that in the days after Johannes Vermeer’s death in 1675, that his widow Catharina and eldest daughter Maria, sitting in a darkened room of the Vermeer home, conspired to settle their numerous family debts in a secretive way. Owing their baker the largest sum of money, the widow and her daughter would give up two of the Master’s last paintings to settle their debt.
In a theory developed by Cooper Union art history professor Benjamin Binstock, the two debt-settling paintings were actually the work of the daughter, Maria Vermeer. According to Binstock’s 2008 book, Vermeer’s Family Secrets, Maria was trained behind closed doors as the Master’s apprentice and is the true creator of one-fifth of today’s known Vermeers.
Via Caroline Claeys, Alcofribas