Technical shortcomings

Helene Kröller-Müller and her husband purchase this floral still life from the art dealer Eugène Blot in 1913. After a while, however, doubts arise: is it really a work by Van Gogh? On closer inspection, the depiction appears to present technical shortcomings. For example, the shapes of the decorations on the vase are rather clumsy. The colour scheme of the background is also not indicative of Van Gogh.

Fake signature

The signature at the bottom right is almost certainly fake and was added at a later date. ‘Vincent’ was not painted on a (semi) dry paint layer, as Van Gogh typically did, but instead scratched out of the already hardened paint. As a result, some of the white ground layer has become visible. The handwriting also differs from that of Van Gogh.

Rising prices

It is probably the work of an amateur, to which Van Gogh’s signature was added later. This would have happened when the prices for his work were rising rapidly, not long before the Kröllers purchased the work. It has since emerged that the Paris art dealerships did not always handle their merchandise with integrity.