Art Collector Says Van Gogh’s Authenticators Are Wrong
Art collector Stuart Pivar – who founded the New York Academy of Art with Andy Warhol in 1979 – is suing the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for $300million after refusing to authenticate a painting he claims is a long-lost work of the Dutch master.
But the museum has reason to believe it is a fake Van Gogh.
As The Post previously reported, Pivar filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging the museum was negligent because he hadn’t seen the painting in real life and rendered its judgment based on images.
The painting represents a panoramic view of a wheat field cut in two by a railway, entitled “Auvers, 1890” and inscribed “Vincent”.
“At no time did defendant seek to view the actual painting or engage plaintiff in obtaining scientific or forensic testing of the paint surface, canvas, or other physical elements of the painting,” the statement reads. record, “the defendant rejected the authenticity of the painting after nothing more than a cursory examination of electronic photographs.
The suit goes on to say, “The overall tone and nature of the report. . . demonstrates that the Respondent had determined that the painting was not authentic prior to reviewing the submissions. »
The 90-year-old art collector is asking for $300 million, which he believes is the fair market price for a real Van Gogh.
Pivar exclusively tells Page Six: “The museum denies everything because they are unscrupulous. They do not want to accept new things and do not professionally approach the investigation of a new chart. Instead, they have immediate opinions. This ultimately results in the death of painting. He added: “They did nothing and acted in a way that causes huge losses.”
Michael Mezzatesta, an alumnus of the Kimball Museum in Fort Worth and director emeritus of the Duke University Museum of Art, had taken a look at the piece and thought the work was the real deal.
The museum, however, believes the photo to be fake.
In its July report by the museum’s senior researchers, they point out that the painting bears a stamp from 20th-century mega-collector Jonas Netter. They note that Netter’s collection consisted mainly of paintings by Modigliani, Soutine and Utrillo – but not by Van Gogh.
The painting also bears swastika stamps, although reports state: “Netter, although Jewish and living in Paris during the German occupation, had sold most of his collection already before the Second World War, and what remained in his possession does not appear to have been confiscated by the Nazis.
The report continues: “The Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, responsible for the looting of Jewish property in occupied Paris, there is no reference to him, nor does he appear to have claimed any works of art lost after the war. Moreover, we lack information on the whereabouts of the collection between the alleged time of the Nazi confiscation and its recent acquisition by the current owner; no information was provided by the owner where they came from.
Pivar was unclear about where he bought the artwork, but says he got eight other works with the supposed van Gogh.
The museum also states that “the forgery of Nazi stamps was already a widespread activity during the war”.
The report also states that the “Vincent” signature was in brown ink, while van Gogh used black ink which faded over time to appear brown.
Pivar agrees with the museum on these issues, telling us “not only is the signature and the ink on the back probably wrong, but Jonas Netter’s collector’s label is probably also wrong in that sense”, as well. that the Nazi stamps, telling us the canvas had been re-stretched and conceding that these attributes could have been added by “one of the owners at some point”.
Pivar, however, disagrees with the museum’s other findings.
The report disputes the motive, stating that the sight seen in the image was unlike any other in Auvers and appears to be fictional. He squeaks, “The particular vantage point leads to another problem: it’s simply impossible to take such a high position anywhere near Auvers except high up in the air with a helicopter.”
They also had issues with the burlap material used for the canvas and the brushstroke technique, comparing the work with other paintings by the artist.
But Pivar insists his piece is genuine. “Comparisons show that he looks like Van Gogh,” he says. “It’s ridiculous”, and he declares that the artist made paintings “just as high”, a perspective. “[The museum] says that this painting is different from van Gogh’s compositions, which is not true, he made dozens of them, ”says Pivar.
A letter sent by the museum’s lawyer to Pivar, seen by Page Six, states “The VGM has conducted its research in accordance with the agreement with you and the terms and conditions applicable to it… It is clear that you are not agree with this result. You want the VGM to reconsider the advice and you have submitted various arguments in this regard. These arguments have been considered by the researchers and their conclusion is that none of them undermine their findings and conclusions.
The letter states that “the District Court of Amsterdam has exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute between you and the VGM regarding the research. The same article also provides that Dutch law – and not the laws of the United States – applies to it.
Pivar’s collection includes paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez, Goya, and Picasso, among others. Pivar worked as an art consultant for Jeffrey Epstein, but says he ended the friendship after learning of the sexual assault allegations.