The Plough News
On this page, a look will be taken at the press coverage regarding the Plough forgery cases. It will become clear that, although the press was quick to react and the coverage was extensive, the coverage lacked in depth. The reasons for this will be discussed and a general analysis of the role of the press will be given. At the bottom of the page, a fully accessible overview of all published news articles will be available.
The press was on the Altink forgery cases from the very start. The first article on the subject was published on the 25th of May 1991, in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden. Only four days later, several newspapers had already identified the Van L. couple as the possible culprits. In the year leading up to the arrest of Cor Van L., several articles were published further exploring the forgeries and Van L.’s alleged role. After the arrest of Van L., it was quickly reported in several news outlets that a raid had taken place and that paintings had been confiscated by the Justice Department. There were also reports on the arrest of Van L.
During the Altink I trial, the media extensively reported on its developments. To understand the vital role the media can play in combating forgeries, one must think of this case as exemplary in this regard. The trial went horribly wrong, and the media were extremely critical of the Justice Department and the many mistakes that were made. The best article was written by Renée Smithuis, the expert witness of the trial. The most important conclusion she draws is that, although the criminal case was dropped, that does not mean the works are in fact authentic, which Van L. claimed in several newspaper articles. It’s important to realize here that proving fraud and forgery is something different from proving authenticity. Although the reporting on the trial was quite extensive, this is the trend that can be seen in these articles. The highly specialized nature of the case concerning both art and law proved to be a challenge for the average journalist. As a result, the news, although providing a good coverage of the events, at times oversimplified the facts, misstated them slightly, or relied too much on hearsay. The Altink I trial coverage showed a clear lack of thorough research from journalists, most likely due to lack of documentation and expertise. The lack of documentation shows in the way the articles were written: they rely on previously mentioned hearsay, and not on the documentation of the court itself. Because of this, vital information was lost.
A journalist who, however, does deserve credit for identifying the shady nature of Van L., is his later biographer: Hendrik Jan Korterink (see Forger). Korterink quickly realized that the biography of Van L. was nothing more than a pamphlet for Van L., and not a work of critical journalism. Years later, Korterink even published a short overview of the Altink II Affair on his website, titled Valse Streken (False Practices).
After the trial and the article 12 procedures were concluded, it was relatively quiet in the media regarding the Plough forgeries. At the start of 2000, however, the number of publications on the subject grew as a consequence of the Altink II civil procedures, and the events leading up to them. The problems concerning the reporting on the Altink I Affair persist throughout the second affair as well. One major difference is, however, the press taking a more aggressive stance towards Van L. While during the Altink I Affair he was perceived to be genuinely innocent by some of the news outlets, during the Altink II Affair this view clearly changed. It is surprising that despite this critical disposition, no in-depth research articles were published on the Plough forgeries.
Although the press had been quick to react to the Plough forgery cases and both Altink cases, their reaction lacked in-depth knowledge and coverage. This was largely due to the highly specialized area of expertise that lay at the foundation of this case. The fact that it was not a run of the mill criminal case made the reporting more challenging. Another reason is that no court documentation was used/available, and the journalists thus had to rely on hearsay and incomplete sources.
 Nieuwsblad v.h. Noorden (25-05-1991).
 ORIGINE (04-02-1994).
*Where able translations of the news articles are given by Google Translate. Please note that these are automated translations and therefor may contain mistakes. For the original text please consult the Dutch version of this page.
- Fake Altinks show up in the art world, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (25-05-1991)
- Drents couple shines in Altink Scandal: Painting-scandal hurts hundreds, Telegraaf (29-05-1991)
- Ex-teacher brain behind Altink Scandal?, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (29-05-1991)
- The knowledge about The Plough is in Groningen, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (30-05-1991)
- Worried owners The Plough paintings come together in new foundation, De Telegraaf (01-06-1991)
- Altink Couple loses procedure against Telegraaf, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (05-07-1991)
- Sad story needed to make money, this is how the Van L.’s tricked the art world, De Telegraaf (6-07-1991)
- As false as they come, De Volkskrant (10-08-1991)
- Similarities in work Van L.: does the forger finally reveal himself?, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (18-05-1992)
- Drents painter arrested on suspicion of forging Altinks, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (16-06-1992)
- Police investigates fake Altinks, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (17-06-1992)
- Suspected forger The Plough released, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (18-06-1992)
- Infamous painter arrested: Paintings seized at Van L.’s, De Telegraaf (16-07-1992)
- Altink paintings returned, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (23-01-1993)
- Preliminary investigation concluded: Paintings Altink returned to the family Van L. Beiler Courant (27-01-1993)
- Proof of forgery is missing, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (31-03-1993)
- Lawyer: Van L. rehabilitated: Alleged forgery case dismissed, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (01-04-1993)
- Bruised but never beaten, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (02-04-1993)
- Damages for alleged Altink forger, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (31-06-1993)
- Painter Van L. wants 80 grand of Justice Deparment, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (25-08-1993)
- Damages for painter Cor van L., Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (25-10-1993)
- Authentic / False: The Altink-affair, Origine (04-02-1994)
- Altink-affair continues at Court of Appeal, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (08-02-1994)
- Van L.: Disgusting and arrogant, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (09-02-1994)
- Chance of Altink Case reopened significant, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (9-2-1994)
- Expert: Van L. abuses appraisal-report, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (10-02-1994)
- Signatures on Altinks false, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (25-03-1994)
- Article Margriet Benak, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (26-03-1994)
- Chance for new process Altink-affair small, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (31-03-1994)
- Lawyer Van L. disappointed about reopening case , Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (01-05-1994)
- Court of Appeal orders new investigation ‘false’ Altinks, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (03-05-1994)
- Court of Appeal orders new investigation paintings Altink, De Telegraaf (03-05-1994)
- ‘Prevent new mistakes Altink-case’, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, (04-05-1994)
- Department of Justice blundered with Altink-forgeries: Evidence gets a new shot, De Telegraaf (13-05-1994)
- Altink-affair ends after new dismissal, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (20-09-1995)
- Altink forgery case definitely closed, De Telegraaf (20-09-1995)
- Court of Appeal closes case around forged Altinks, De Volkskrant (20-09-1995)
- Gallery-owner Smithuis frustrated about the Altink-affair: Public Prosecutor is allowed to blunder, Hollands Dagblad (27-09-1995)
- Altink-affair closed with damages, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (09-1995)
- And again Altinks were false, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (7-12-2001)
- Judgement makes Altinks real, Dagblad van het Noorden (16-02-2006)
- ‘Is that Altink false? Then it is removed from the shop window immediately’, De Groninger Gezinsbode (20-06-2005)
- Playing with The Plough, Volkskrant (5-10-2006)
- Worries about the reputation of The Plough paintings, Dagblad van het Noorden (6-10-2006)
- Comments: Fake Art, De Groninger Gezinsbode (11-10-2006)
- Interview: Cor van L., Painter and mistrusted art dealer, Dagblad van het Noorden (14-10-2006)
- Q & A: Johan Meijering keeps fighting against fake art (25-01-2007)
- Journal 25 Januari 2007, www.misdaadjournalist.nl (25-01-2007)
- Falsehoods: Fake art can be sold without punishment. Nobody does anything, Nieuwe Revue, nr. 22 (30-05-2007)
- Press Release Cor van L. (02-2008)
- One against all, all against one, Dagblad van het Noorden (22-02-2008)
- Shady plays around The Plough, Dagblad van het Noorden (12-06-2010)
- Rising emotions in court, Dagblad van het Noorden (17-06-2010)
- Department of Justice seeks art expert, Dagblad van het Noorden (21-06-2010)
- 1-0 for Van L., Dagblad van het Noorden (30-9-2010)
- The Plough experts avoid legal proceedings, Dagblad van het Noorden (6-11-2010)
- The Second Altink-Affair: Shady forgery and con practices surrounding The Plough, Origine Magazin, Nummer 6 – 2010, jaargang 18 (11-2010)
- Fakes in court, Dagblad van het Noorden (9-02-2011)
- Case of fake The Plough paintings in front of Leeuwarden Court of Appeal, Leeuwarder Courant (9-02-2011)
- Experts critique quality fake The Plough works, Leeuwarder Courant (16-02-2011)
- Fries artist strikes back, De Telegraaf (25-06-2012)
- Van L.: Experts are incompetent, Dagblad van het Noorden (30-06-2012)
- Press Release Cor van L. (07-2012)
- Press Release Cor van L. (10-2012)
- Lawyers Meijering and Van L. try settling, Dagblad van het Noorden (21-03-2013)
- Court of Appeal denies complaint Johan Meijering, Dagblad van het Noorden, (24-10-2013)
- Court of Appeal states that statute of limitations has passed (26-10-2013)
- Art-dealer appeals decision , Rtv Noord (28-11-2014)
- Plough-affair enters new phase, Dagblad van het Noorden (29-11-2014)
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