Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two Van Gogh Paintings Rejected in Germany

This month the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal, Germany rejected two of the four Van Gogh paintings in their collection:

Still Life with Beer Mug and Fruit (F 1a, JH 82)

Vase with Flowers, Coffeepot and Fruit (F 287, JH 1231)

I always think it's commendable when a museum undertakes research on a work's authenticity and comes to the difficult conclusion that the work in their collection can no longer be considered genuine. Other museums are guilty of the opposite. Both the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco and the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo claim to own Van Gogh works (a painting and two drawings respectively) when these works have been categorically rejected by everyone else.

On another note, it’s always a bit of a challenge for me when a Van Gogh art work is rejected. For each rejected work, the following is required:

- Build a new record in my Van Gogh database's rejected table. Reconstruct all data from accepted works table (a field by field copy and paste because both tables are structured differently). Reconstruct rejected work's provenance records. Reconstruct rejected work's exhibition history records. Move image to rejected folder. Deleted original record from the accepted works table.

- In the website: remove image, remove webpage, change chronological listing page (and change number of total paintings at the top of the page), change thumbnail page, change painting A-Z page, change "next painting" and "previous painting" link on relevant webpages, remove work from World Map section (if applicable) and change total number of paintings on main page.

All just for one rejected painting!


  1. Are they sure? The painting 'F 1a' really seemed to be a genuine Van Gogh. I thought, it resembles the other paintings in that period, as far as texture, coloring, etc. to a great extent?

    Do you know how they can tell if it is a Van Gogh or not? What technology do they use?

  2. It's a good question, Preston. Further details are here:

    Sorry--only in German.

  3. Thanks David. I managed to translate the article. The article really only said that the museum rejected 2 paintings. It did not give details on how they came to the conclusion that they were not authentic Van Gogh's, in fact, nothing of the sort. Only that the museum rejected them.

    Perhaps there will be more information in the future about the testing used to see if they are originals?

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