A Real Van Gogh: How the Art World Struggles with Truth by Henk Tromp

By Henk Tromp

Vincent van Gogh’s work and drawings are fabulously pricey. hundreds of thousands of individuals recognize his paintings, yet are these masterpieces all actual? To at the present time, the foreign artwork international struggles to split the genuine Van Goghs from the faux ones, and the most important query addressed during this publication is what may possibly ensue to paintings specialists after they publicly voice their critiques on a specific Van Gogh (or not). the tale starts off with paintings professional J.B. de l. a. Faille who came upon to his personal bewilderment that he had incorporated dozens of pretend Van Goghs in his 1928 catalogue raisonné. He desired to set the checklist immediately, yet met with powerful resistance from paintings buyers, creditors, critics, politicians and others, marking the start of a fierce conflict of pursuits that had seized the paintings international for lots of many years of the 20 th century. In his attention-grabbing account of the fight for the true Vincent van Gogh, Tromp indicates the fewer appealing part of the artwork international. His reconstruction of many such confrontations yields a number of fascinating and occasionally bewildering insights into the fates of paintings specialists after they deliver unwelcome information.

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Extra resources for A Real Van Gogh: How the Art World Struggles with Truth

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But as so often happens, one examines the canvases more closely and analyzes them, and if they are not blatant forgeries one reasons the doubt away. ”52 The idea that his Van Gogh catalogue contained forged works was “terrible,” he said, “because I had devoted years of my life to that effort. But it was my duty to make my mistake known. After all, art dealers and purchasers use books like this as advisors ... ”53 Was his judgment influenced by commercial considerations? I am inclined to answer that question with a “yes,” albeit a weak one, since there are no good sources to back me up.

14 Connoisseur Hofstede de Groot responded by coming to Valentiner’s defense, but he did not attempt to answer De la Faille’s rhetorical question of whether commerce had obscured the perception of the master’s work. The director of the Rijksmuseum, Dr. F. ”15 The negative influence of the art market continued to concern De la Faille the auctioneer. How could the practice be reined in, and how could authenticity be established in an objective manner? indd 33  29-5-2010 15:23:5429-5-2010 15:23:54 that would research, certify, and register works of art.

These characteristics also guided his career as an art expert and an authority on the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, and made him an exceptional figure in the Dutch art world. Needless to say, De la Faille was no saint. He struck disingenuous compromises at decisive moments and betrayed his ideals, as we shall see. He was like the militant preacher of monogamy who gets caught in the act of adultery. De la Faille eventually chose the world of art over the world of politics. In 1916 he took a job as auctioneer with Frederik Muller & Co.

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