The art world is buzzing after news broke that a British couple reportedly purchased the only full-length portrait of Vincent Van Gogh in existence for a mere 1,500 pounds ($3,000).
The potentially priceless picture was originally listed on an auction website as simply ‘portrait of a man,’ but after extensive research, Michael and Mandy Cruickshank believe the work – thought to have been drawn by French female artist, Jeanne Donnadieu – is of Van Gogh, the legendary Dutch impressionist, who died in 1890.
The Cruickshank’s, who call themselves “amateur collectors,” aren’t the only ones that think their find is the “real deal” – several art historians, who found several clues in the drawing (and behind it) that point to its authenticity, also share their feelings.
“We compared the painting with a well known self portrait, two other portraits and a photo of Van Gogh from the period. We were hampered slightly because it was a pastel drawing which is less clear, but there is a good case for it being Van Gogh,” the Daily Mail quoted Caroline Erolin, a lecturer in medical and forensic art, as saying.
Among the clues that could possibly validate the Cruickshank’s claims is the phrase “L’Incompris” (“The Misunderstood”) – words Van Gogh himself was famous for writing on his own walls – scrawled on the wall in the pastel.
Another is Donnadieu’s address, 17 Rue Victor Massi, which is scrawled on the back of the drawing, beneath her name.
After a bit of digging into the town’s history, the Cruickshanks discovered that the road’s name – changed in 1887 – was previously Rue Laval, the same Paris street where Van Gogh and his brother Theo lived.
“There is no way to prove for certain that the subject is Van Gogh, but the evidence is so strong that we are quite certain it is him,” Mrs Cruickshank said regarding the clues.
The portrait is currently being displayed in Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby, UK, until September 3. If authenticated, the Cruickshanks say the drawing (seen below) could be worth millions.
via Daily mail
Update: Added Jeanne Donnadieu as the author of the work. Thanks for pointing that out Dean.