National Gallery of Victoria buys a Van Gogh…err a Rubens? Wait is it a Gavin Turk?

April 11, 2008 · Print This Article

Van Gogh?
Head of a Man is the name given to a $5 million Vincent Van Gogh portrait that was purchased in 1940. Only thing is now no one belives it is a Van Gogh. The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum performed a 10-month investigation by scholars and has found the portrait was probably painted by a fellow student of Van Gogh in Antwerp or Paris in the mid 1880s. They are absolutely sure though that it is not a forgery since the work makes no attempt to directly mimic or pass itself off in a documented or established way as a Van Gogh.

Definitely a RubensGermaine Greer, a writer for the Guardian Unlimited has a theory that the work is a Rubens which I would think she is joking since Rubens is widely know for doing portraiture with almost no hard edges and voluminous features. Either way the work is now valued at a fraction of a fraction of it’s previous value and is being relabeled to reflect it’s now unknown creator.

I would like to personally throw my hat in the ring and say that I believe the portrait to be the product of Gavin Turk. After having seen his Warhol riffed “Piss Paintings” at the Armory I believe that his mimicking of past Masters has no limits and this is a 1800’s portrait of Turk with a rocking beard and a decade (for him) of hair growth.

That’s just my thought it could be a Thomas Kinkade for all I know.

Source: Paul Klein’s Art Letter

2 thoughts on “National Gallery of Victoria buys a Van Gogh…err a Rubens? Wait is it a Gavin Turk?”

  1. vanrijngo says:

    All this bullshit in itself about these MFA experts quibbling over whether a five million dollar van Gogh is real or not, after the painting having been one for all these years, does show me what ignorant blind assholes they really are. You keep your eyes on my blog site, and in the near future I will have proof of who this man in this painting really was, when it was painted in Paris France, the year that it was painted, and by who. The only problem you’ll have with it,…. you will not be able to take that to the bank.

  2. I can say that this is typical, having a good knowledge of the field with my hat as an art historian on. Whenever someone doesn’t have a genuinely good idea, or has no real eye for special quality, or can’t even latch onto trendy vocabularly well enough, they inevitably go for revisionism. Trying to get attention simply by saying something is not what it has been thought to be. The worst versions of this we all know: the “Shakespeare didn’t exist” stuff, the da Vinci code, Jesus’ family grave,etc., but it happens in art history almost monthly at this level too. Bad scholarship verging on, or incorporating, conspiracy theories or simple nay-saying to solid scholarship. If naught else, at least you get in the papers for a year or so. My favorite parody of this was how Woodie Allen in his stand-up comedy act proved that HE himself had written all of Shakespeare’s work

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