Vincent van Gogh painted in Auvers 1890 the
portrait of the psychiatrist Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet (1828 - 1909)
shortly before he died. One hundred years later, in July 1990, that
particular painting was sold for 75 million American dollars, a record
which lasted for 10 years until may 2004, where another fantastic sum
was achieved for Pablo Picasso’s Garcon a la pipe (Boy with his pipe)
which was sold for 93 million dollars plus Sotheby’s 10 percent salary (fee).
The painting “Dr. Gachet” was bought by the Japanese businessman
Ryoei Saito who died in 1996. Since that no one has laid eyes upon van
Gogh’s painting, Saito put forward the threat that he was going to
burn it!!. Whether he did so, nobody knows.
In 1949 Dr. Gachet's son, Paul Gachet Jr. (1873-1962), who carried his
father’s name gave away not a reproduction but an asserted recopy
(another presumed genuine work) of his father’s painting “Dr. Gachet”.
It now resides in the Museé d’Orsay in Paris and is considered to be
a genuine work from the hand of Vincent van Gogh.
But it is not. It is a work done by an
amateur and far from van Gogh's fresh style of painting. The expressive form is wake, it
lacks the charisma as seen from the master’s own hand. Any one knowing
just a little about art, should easily see that this is not a van
Gogh, this is not his characteristic lumped way of painting. The
background is dead and build up schematically the eyes as well as the
whole face are without character, soulless. Much could point in
the direction that Dr. Gachet did it himself. He was a middle-class
painter, had some exhibitions under the pseudonym Paul van Ryssel, and
he did portraits, Still-life (Stillleben) and landscapes. He was known
for copying famous artists from that époque. The latter’s best
auction price reached $5000.