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. thousands of individuals appreciate his paintings, yet are these masterpieces all actual? To today, the overseas paintings global struggles to split the true Van Goghs from the faux ones, and the foremost query addressed during this ebook is what might occur to artwork specialists once they publicly voice their reviews on a selected Van Gogh (or not). the tale starts off with artwork specialist J.B. de l. a. Faille who chanced on to his personal bewilderment that he had incorporated dozens of faux Van Goghs in his 1928 catalogue raisonné. He desired to set the list immediately, yet met with robust resistance from paintings purchasers, creditors, critics, politicians and others, marking the start of a fierce conflict of pursuits that had seized the artwork international for plenty of many years of the 20 th century. In his attention-grabbing account of the fight for the real Vincent van Gogh, Tromp exhibits the fewer appealing aspect of the paintings international. His reconstruction of many such confrontations yields a number of fascinating and occasionally bewildering insights into the fates of artwork specialists once they deliver unwelcome information.

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Indd 49  29-5-2010 15:23:5529-5-2010 15:23:55 sary discretion. The seller will take the work back and compensate the buyer for any loss. The purpose of this confidentiality is to safeguard the reputations of both seller and buyer. While the rule is exemplary in its simplicity, there are factors that can sap the rule of all its power, and the Wacker Van Gogh case had them in spades. The number of persons and official bodies that had anything to do with the canvases only increased as 1928 drew to a close.

17 Art critic Cornelis Veth published a rejoinder. ”18 The affairs being fought out in public concerning the authenticity of works by Rembrandt, Hals, or Vermeer were damaging to the prestige of art history as an independent field of scholarship. The expert, like the judge, should be objective in formulating his verdict. But what made Veth rise up in protest was the notion of “official” in De la Faille’s proposal. That meant the Dutch state would set up authentication bureaus, appoint officials, and assume financial responsibility.

Bremmer was motivated not only by a selfless readiness to help and an absolute love of art, not only by an unassailable sense of his own importance, but also by shrewdness and calculation. He had acquired power and prestige in the art world and was determined to maintain his unique position. His reputation for being able to make and break careers was distinctly exaggerated, but it was not far from the truth. 43 He invited Kröller-Müller and Bremmer to become members, but both of them turned him down.

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