French publisher Le Seuil has threatened legal action against the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam after the Museum questioned the authenticity of a series of previously unpublished Van Gogh sketches. The sketches were recently published by Le Seuil in the book "Vincent Van Gogh, the fog of Arles: the rediscovered sketchbook."
The book purports to contain a series of previously unknown sketches conducted by Van Gogh during his time in Arles, discovered in the accounts book of a hotel Van Gogh stayed at in 1888. The text was written by art historian Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, the main expert behind the find, who specializes in Van Gogh, and teaches at the University of Toronto.
After the book was published last month, the staff of the Van Gogh Museum rejected the sketches as mere copies of Van Gogh's style, referring to them as "clumsy" and "monotonous."
In response, La Seuil, as well as the owner of the sketches, are threatening legal action. In a press statement, La Seuil said they intend "to obtain compensation for the damage they have suffered as a result of an insidious and unfounded campaign" on the part of the Van Gogh Museum.
For its part, the Van Gogh Museum has said it is not interested in engaging in a public debate about the authenticity of the sketches and instead are calling on the publisher and author to provide a clear response to all of the issues its experts raised about the work.
Image via the publisher