Who should write catalogues raisonnés (ctd.)?

March 10 2015

Image of Who should write catalogues raisonnés (ctd.)?

Picture: Freren/Metropolitian Museum

The photo above left is the front cover of the late Prof. Erik Larsen's 1988 catalogue raisonné of Van Dyck's paintings. As you can see, it is a rubbish copy of the genuine Van Dyck self-portrait in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In other words, the front cover alone tells you all you need to know about the quality of Prof. Larsen's catalogue.

But still that book held sway over the Van Dyck market for many years, until it was superseded by the infinitely superior 2004 Yale catalogue.

Why? Why was someone who patently had no idea what a genuine Van Dyck looked like able to pronounce on what was and what was not a Van Dyck? I look into these questions in my latest article for The Art Newspaper, which you can read online (free) here

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