Van Gogh's lost sketchbook?

November 20 2016

Video: CBC

The publication of an apparently 'lost' sketchbook by Van Gogh - available for sale here in facsimile - has caused a dispute amongst Van Gogh scholars. The book, never before recorded was supposedly discovered in the same area in France, Arles, where Van Gogh left it shortly before he died. It has been in a cupboard more or less ever since, the owners being unaware of what it was. In the video above we see Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, the Canadian art historian and Van Gogh specialist, say why she is convinced they are by Van Gogh. She is supported by others who have written on Van Gogh, including Ronald Pickvance.

But here is a strong and confident take down by the Van Gogh museum, who have rejected the attribution of the drawings, and say the whole thing is a clever fake. Intriguingly, the museum refers to "various owners of drawings from the album", which implies the album has been sold to multiple parties, presumably as a speculation. 

I'm no Van Gogh expert by any stretch, so can't begin to comment on the authenticity. Except to say that I find some of the portraits to be quite modern in their characterisation. 

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