‘Lost’ Van Gogh sketch­book draws heated con­tro­versy

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Paris

The dis­cov­ery of 65 pre­vi­ously un­known draw­ings said to be by Vin­cent Van Gogh has set off a bit­ter row about their au­then­tic­ity, with Am­s­ter­dam’s Van Gogh Mu­seum dis­miss­ing as fakes what oth­ers hailed as one of the big­gest art world finds in years.

The mu­seum claimed Tues­day that the con­tents of the so­called lost sketch­book un­veiled by French pub­lish­ers were im­i­ta­tions and “could not be at­trib­uted to Vin­cent Van Gogh”.

But ex­perts be­hind the dis­cov­ery ac­cused the mu­seum of “jeal­ousy”, adding that “it was not the first time the Van Gogh Mu­seum has got it wrong”.

The sketches come from the Dutch artist’s time in the south­ern French city of Ar­les, when he pro­duced some of his great­est paint­ings.

The mu­seum spoke up as re­spected French pub­lish­ing house Le Seuil was un­veil­ing copies of the sketches in Paris. Its book of the draw­ings, Vin­cent Van Gogh, the Fog of Ar­les: the Re­dis­cov­ered Sketch­book, is to be pub­lished world­wide on Thurs­day.

Its ed­i­tor, Bernard Comment, said re­spected ex­perts were con­vinced they were real. Van Gogh made the ink draw­ings in the ac­counts book of the fa­mous Cafe de la Gare, where he stayed at var­i­ous times be­tween 1888 and 1890, to­ward the end of his life, he said.

Bri­tish ex­pert Ron­ald Pick­vance claimed the book was “the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary dis­cov­ery in the his­tory of Van Gogh” stud­ies.

Le Seuil said that the ledger was found in the ar­chives of the Cafe de la Gare, and was owned by “a woman of mod­est means” liv­ing in the south of France.

But the Van Gogh Mu­seum said that hav­ing seen high qual­ity pho­to­graphs of 56 of the 65 sketches, its ex­perts con­cluded they were not by Van Gogh. “The ex­perts ex­am­ined its style, tech­nique and iconog­ra­phy, and among their con­clu­sions were that it con­tains dis­tinc­tive topo­graph­i­cal er­rors and that its maker based it on dis­col­ored draw­ings by Van Gogh,” the mu­seum added.

Copies of Sketch­book. theFo­gofAr­les:theRedis­cov­ered

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