Saturday, January 19, 2008

Van Gogh s Missing Classic

Van Gogh s Missing Classic One of the final paintings completed by Vincent Van Gogh before he committed suicide was the Portrait of Dr. Gachet. This portrait of Van Gogh’s personal physician is considered one of his most important works and remains a popular cultural image. In 1990, this painting was sold in a New York auction house to Roei Saito, a Japanese industrialist, for a record price of $82.5 million. After purchasing the painting, he had it shipped to Tokyo, where he spent several hours looking over and admiring the painting. He then repacked it and sealed it inside an unknown climate-controlled location for the next seven years. During these seven years, Saito faced many financial and health problems. He became wheelchair bound and was in legal trouble for trying to bribe officials in a gold course development deal. During this difficult time, he threatened to the media to have the Portrait of Dr. Gachet burned and buried with him, although he later claimed he was just joking. However, when he died in 1996, this Van Gogh masterpiece was nowhere to be found. To this day it has still not been located, and many people speculate about its whereabouts. Most people do not believe that Saito carried out with his threat and burned the painting, but it certainly is possible. To lose this painting forever would be a huge blow for the art community. While Saito’s threats sounded credible, this was not the first time this particular painting has disappeared. In the early 1900s, the painting was moved from Amsterdam to Germany. When Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s, they condemned certain works of art and piece’s owner locked it up in a secret room, where it was hidden for a few years before being rediscovered. Many people believe that whoever currently has the painting does not want to reveal it to the international art world because of all the intrigue surrounding it. Of course, the debate still ensues over where the money would have come from for someone to purchase the piece of artwork and where exactly the painting is located now. New York, Paris and Switzerland are popular locations in the rumor mill. However, many doubt it ended up in New York due to the fact shippers, customs workers and others would have had to seen the painting. The mystery surrounding the Portrait of Dr. Gachet is still present today, and nothing new is known eleven years later. Hopefully sometime soon this mystery will finally be put to rest, and the painting will hopefully reappear. Brandon Fuhrmann is an expert on art for offers 100% hand painted reproductions of classic artwork. Visit for more information on Van Gogh s Portrait of Dr. Gachet

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