Art history comes alive in this captivating investigation of the history and authenticity of van Gogh’s iconic painting Wheat Field with Cypresses.
Currently on display at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vincent van Gogh’s The Wheat Field with Cypresses is traditionally considered to be one of a series of masterworks he painted during his stay in the Saint-Rémy mental asylum. After his suicide, these paintings languished for a decade, until van Gogh’s sister-in-law took them to a family friend for restoration. The restorer had other ideas . . .
Relying on a number of verification techniques, from the study of the painter’s biography and personal correspondence to the examination of the painting’s style and technical characteristics, investigative journalist James Ottar Grundvig posits that the painting housed in the Met, valued at $95 million dollars, is a fake.
In the course of his investigation, Grundvig traces the incredible story of this piece from the artist’s brushstrokes in sunlit southern France to a forger’s den in Paris, the art collections of a prominent Jewish banking family and a Nazi-sympathizing Swiss arms dealer, and finally the walls of the Met. The riveting narrative of Breaking van Gogh weaves its way through the turbulent history of twentieth-century Europe, as the painting’s fate is intimately bound with some of the era’s most prominent figures.