Cops Foil Van Gogh Forgery

AMSTERDAM -- A 56-year-old man has been arrested by Dutch police after they believed the individual was attempting to sell a forgery of a Vincent van Gogh painting.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are glad to see the prevention of this massive art forgery scheme.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of fraud for attempting to sell what he claimed was a study for Dutch master’s painting The Harvest, which depicts the wheat fields of Arles, France, for €15 million (about $17 million).

The Associated Press reports that the suspect's name is not being released in accordance with Dutch privacy law.

The 56 year-old allegedly had forged documents that appeared to be from the recently-renovated Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which owns the work, vouching for the authenticity of the painting.

Due to the artist's works being a rarity on the auction block, buyers from several countries are said to have been interested in buying the counterfeit work of art.

In 1990, van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890) set the record for the most expensive painting sold at auction, fetching $148.9 million, or £94 million. A particular record that was actually only broken this year, when Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger (Version 'O') (1955), sold for an astonishing $141.7 million, accounting for inflation.

The most expensive painting sale of all time -- public or private -- is believed to be Paul Gauguin's Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), which secret,y went for $300 million, or £191 million in a private sale in February. The Qataris are believed to be the buyers of both works of art.

Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo regarding The Harvest, and stated that the canvas, which he was working on in the summer of 1888, "absolutely kills all the rest."

Art historians believe Van Gogh completed 10 oil paintings and five drawings over a single week in June of that particular year.

Wheat Theme

Vincent van Gogh painted dozens of Wheat Fields (series of paintings), borne out of his religious studies and sermons, connection to nature, appreciation of manual laborers and desire to provide a means of offering comfort to others.

As a young man Van Gogh pursued what he saw as a religious calling, wanting to minister to working people. In 1876 he was assigned a post in Isleworth, England to teach Bible classes and occasionally preach in the Methodist church.

When he returned to the Netherlands he studied for the ministry and also for lay ministry or missionary work without finishing either field of study.

The wheat field works demonstrate his progression as an artist from the drab Wheat Sheaves made in 1885 in the Netherlands to the colorful, dramatic paintings from Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers-sur-Oise of rural France.

In the series of paintings about wheat fields, Van Gogh expresses through symbolism and use of color his deeply felt spiritual beliefs, appreciation of manual laborers and connection to nature. Drawn to Biblical parables, Van Gogh found wheat fields metaphors for humanity's cycles of life, as both celebration of growth and realization of the susceptibility of nature's powerful forces.

Wheat fields provided a subject in which Van Gogh could experiment with color. Van Gogh used complementary, contrasting colors to bring an intensity to his work, which evolved over the periods of his work. Two complementary colors of the same degree of vividness and contrast. The four seasons were reflected in lime green and silver of spring, yellow when the wheat matured, beige and then burnished gold.

Four days after completing Wheat Fields after the Rain he shot himself in the Auvers wheat fields. Van Gogh died on July 29, 1890.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video further explores Van Gogh's end-of-life theme, as exemplified in Wheat Field with Reaper, exhibited at the Van Gogh Museum.