Hanspeter Born and Benoit Landais claim, in an ebook recently published, that one of the most valuable works of art still in private hands is one of as many as 30 works by Vincent van Gogh that are forgeries. The forger is claimed to have been an obscure painter named Emile Schuffenecker.
Among the works is the self portrait (above) owned by the Niarchos family which may be one of the most valuable works of art in private hands.
Here’s a Dutch news site on the claims:
In 1902 Schuffenecker sold his work to the wine merchant and art lover Gustave Fayet for 3,000 francs, which Born says was the highest price ever paid for a Van Gogh at that time. […]
After Fayet’s death, the well-known Paris dealer Paul Rosenberg sold The Man with a Pipe to the American advertising tycoon Albert Lasker, who lent it to the Chicago Museum of Art. […]
Suggestions that Schuffenecker faked works by Van Gogh and others, including Gauguin, date back to the 1920s.
The Cleveland Museum which will host a show of van Gogh’s works that contains 8 paintings the authors doubt:
William Robinson, the Cleveland museum’s curator of modern European art and a co-organizer of the Van Gogh show, isn’t buying the argument.
“We are well aware of this book, but do not agree with its assertions, which are not new,” he said Tuesday in a written statement when queried by The Plain Dealer. “The authors have been circulating these ideas for over a decade.”
Robinson said that the “vast majority of Van Gogh scholars” do not agree with the theories of Landais and Born, which he called “speculative.”
The Cleveland Museum of Art rejects claims that its upcoming Van Gogh show includes eight fakes (Cleveland Plain Dealer)