Fake Vincent van Gogh in Australia?

The National Gallery in Melbourne, Australia may have itself an expensive fake Vincent van Gogh portrait. British experts on the Dutch master have come up with a list of inconsistencies, which point toward the work being a forgery.
Some of the things that experts were critical of were; Vincent didn’t mention it any letters, it is mounted differently to his other work, it has had the lower part of the painting (including the signature) cut off, and it’s the only horizontal portrait by Van Gogh.

vincent van gogh fake?

British Art Experts Say Australian van Gogh a Fake
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) director Gerard Vaughan conceded Monday that Head of a Man would be worthless if the bulk of art historians concurred with the view of Michael Daley, director of Art Watch UK, that the NGV’s prize exhibit had “all the hallmarks of a pre-existing picture tricked up to resemble a Van Gogh.” Art Daily

I think artists must sometimes make art experts pull their hair out in frustration. Artists experiment, they produce flops, they use different materials sometimes, and they don’t always paint the same painting. Vincent could of used a different mounting method, he could of painted it horizontally, and he may not have been very happy with it, so he might of chose not to mention it to Theo in his letters.
I’m not saying I think it is or isn’t a real Vincent van Gogh, I’m just saying that artists can be unpredictable too.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Tunick Boy says:

    Oh yeah, we all have bad painting days, we all have days where we want to do something different.

    And don’t be fooled that the art experts always know what they are talking about, they are just paid a lot to make educated guesses.

    Provenance helps, but what if the provenance includes an forger?

  2. ARen’t those colours consistent with the colours he used for his earlier works? I agree it could have been a practice painting (transitional piece) and not even worth a mention in letters. Also I didn’t see any mention of carbon dating the piece? Is it from the same time period?

  3. Sometimes pictures are deliberately cut by artists ( and others)to a new shape to loose an offending area whilst preserving something of worth. A chopped picture would be less likely to be one you would want to mention and maybe it was preserved simply as a reference item for future use. It does look a bit like Rolf Harris and maybe it’s one of his self portraits in which cae it’s priceless!

  4. I am not a specialist, just a painter.
    My instincts say:

    - The hair is a bit to uncontrolled painted for van Gogh

    - The portrait looks a bit too sentimental, thus the eyes have too much effect.

    Plus: the signiture maybe removed and mounted in an untypical manner, I would say, maybe indeed a forgery.

  5. We will never know for sure, what is left is the beauty of supposition…

  6. Whenever an artist’s work increases in value on the art market, the incentive to produce forgeries of his work grows.

    Van Gogh’s friend and doctor (some say quack), Dr. Gachet, own several of the artist’s paintings, as well as many of the Impressionists’ works, which he and his son, Paul, would often make copies of. It’s also believed that they made paintings in the stlye of these artists and tried to pass them off as originals.

    The fact that the painting in question has had its bottom cut off, perhaps to remove the name of the copyist, makes it suspect. If the artist himself had cut the piece off, wouldn’t he re-sign the painting?

  7. I don’t sign practice paintings, and I have at times cut or reshaped the wood or canvas. So that in itself doesn’t suggest forgery. The forger could just have easily forged the signature. Oh well I’m not an expert. So I can’t say either way.

  8. I think being an artist does make us some kind of expert on how artists make paintings. We understand that not all paintings are the same, or even similar. We have off days, we don’t always sign paintings, and sometimes produce things that don’t have any elements of our usual style.

    Just because I only paint shoes all my life and then paint two t-shirts at the end of my life, does not mean that the t-shirts are fake (even if I didnt sign them).

    I still don’t have an opinion either way about the Australian Van Gogh, but it could be real.


  9. I agree that the eyes have it. They are excellent eyes. This painting is far too accomplished to be a Van Gogh. It looks professional. Van Gogh’s work looks what it is: schizophrenic art. Just visit your local art therapy group to find more of the same! And isn’t it insane that a better artist than Van Gogh is worth nothing? But that’s the “art” market for you: dominated by people with more money than sense.

  10. Just use your eyes: this doesn’t have the internal energy of a Van Gogh. His works are bursting with vibrancy, whereas this is…just there.

  11. Oh my dear, is not our reasoning the typical fabrication? We know that Vincent had sell anything during his life, however he was lead by the Spirit that we didn’t bother even to mention. Is worshiping of the handworks the respect of the artist or it is continuation of his sacred dreams?
    What about we are talking? Are we talking about the peace of the canvas, or about the recognition of the self in the eyes of each other? What is the art? Is not the artist the secular priest? Thus we all are worshipers of the light that enfolds us all… In some sense, I would even say that authentication of separate single sunbeam has no matter at all.
    Vincent van Gogh is my hero. I work in absolutely different manner, but sense the same spiritual flower and burning longing not for quarrels and competitions but about home of the artists.
    Be well, my dear

  12. What makes the art work worth anything? The tone? The use of colour or texture? OR is it the artists name that makes viewers go mad?

  13. I say this portrait was done by none other than Vincent van Gogh himself. I myself do have the proof for anyone wishing to see it. This MFA world of our is made up of mostly irresponsible individuals calling themselves MFA experts, but are unfortunately mistaken. I do also know that this comment will not survive being deleted when seen by certain individuals.

  14. Vanrijngo, your comment will only be deleted if you try and spam the blog or are abusive.

    You can express any opinion you want, as long as it’s not vulgar or offensive to anyone. I dont delete comments just because I don’t agree with people.


  15. Anonymous says:

    There are two answers to this question.

    One is that the painting is unlike any other painting van gogh ever did.


    it is not a painting by van gogh.

  16. “Fake Vincent van Gogh in Australia?”

    It totally blows me away when supposed MFA experts say and tell others in this world of supposed fine art what is fake and what is not,… what artist’s did and who done what.

    If they are the MFA experts that they claim to be, just tell me why is there so many fakes in museums, in the artist’s foundations, in almost every large art collection in this world?

    Fine art associations along with all their associates are now beginning to admit with a little help from new science technologies that at least 50% of all art sold at the high end art markets and auctions houses in the past and present are fakes.


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