In 1928, after eleven years of extensive research and editing, Dr. Jacob Baart de la Faille finally finished the first catalogue raisonné of Vincent van Gogh’s work. Soon after, however, de la Faille discovered that he had mistakenly listed dozens of forged works as genuine in the catalog. He quickly set out to set the record straight but was met with strong resistance from art dealers, collectors, critics, politicians, amongst others—all of whom had self-interested reasons to oppose his corrections.
To this day, the international art world struggles to separate the real Van Goghs from the fake. A Real Van Gogh begins with the story of de la Faille and moves into the late decades of the twentieth century, outlining the numerous clashes over the authenticity of Van Gogh’s works while simultaneously exposing the often bewildering ramifications for art critics and scholars when they bring unwelcome news.