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 dear. thousands of individuals appreciate his paintings, yet are these masterpieces all real? To this present day, the overseas paintings global struggles to split the genuine Van Goghs from the pretend ones, and the major query addressed during this booklet is what could ensue to paintings specialists once they publicly voice their evaluations on a selected Van Gogh (or not). the tale starts off with artwork specialist J.B. de los angeles 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 directly, yet met with powerful resistance from paintings purchasers, creditors, critics, politicians and others, marking the start of a fierce conflict of pursuits that had seized the artwork global for plenty of many years of the 20th century. In his interesting account of the fight for the real Vincent van Gogh, Tromp indicates the fewer appealing aspect of the paintings global. His reconstruction of many such confrontations yields a bunch of interesting and infrequently bewildering insights into the fates of artwork specialists once they convey unwelcome information.

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Interestingly enough, the Friends did not invite Engineer Van Gogh to become a board member. His name was also missing from the imposing list drawn up by the Recommendations Committee. So it is not entirely inconceivable that one of the Friends’ unspoken goals was to purchase the Engineer’s inheritance using private and government money and to give it to the Stedelijk Museum. But they never got that far. indd 45  29-5-2010 15:23:5529-5-2010 15:23:55 Fake Van Goghs De la Faille’s magnum opus, the Van Gogh catalogue, was published in December 1927, but his joy was short-lived.

Indd 54 an eye for an eye 29-5-2010 15:23:5529-5-2010 15:23:55 was not enough to soften his opponent’s heart: Bremmer “an” authority – one among others? Bremmer was the art pope, and he would not allow anyone to topple the tiara from his head. In a revealing turn of events, Bremmer’s position was confirmed in December 1928 by several people who began purchasing Wacker Van Goghs. 70 She told an associate in Berlin that buying these canvases was intended as an act of support for Bremmer’s opinion that some of the works regarded as false by De la Faille were quite genuine: anyone who believed in Bremmer put his money where his mouth was.

At Bremmer’s advice they would regularly purchase dozens of pieces at a time during visits to dealers or auction houses. By 1928 their collection comprised about 5,000 works of art. Bremmer also served as a patron, and provided artists with allowances from his own pocket – sometimes for a good many years – or persuaded others, including the Kröllers, to support them financially. He bought their work, organized exhibitions, wrote about it, and recommended it to course participants and collectors.

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