A 56-year-old man has been arrested by Dutch police after they believed the individual was attempting to sell a forgery of a Vincent van Gogh painting. According to The Guardian, the suspect was arrested on suspicion of fraud for attempting to sell what he claimed was a study for Dutch master’s painting The Harvest, which depicts the wheat fields of Arles, France, for €15 million (about $17 million, or £10.8 million).
The Associated Press reports that the suspect’s name is not being released in accordance with Dutch privacy law.The 56 year-old allegedly had forged documents that appeared to be from the recently-renovated Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which owns the work, vouching for the authenticity of the painting.
Due to the artist’s works being a rarity on the auction block, buyers from several countries are said to have been interested in buying the counterfeit work of art. In 1990, van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890) set the record for the most expensive painting sold at auction, fetching $148.9 million, or £94 million. A particular record that was actually only broken this year, when Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) (1955), sold for an astonishing $141.7 million, accounting for inflation.
The most expensive painting of all time is believed to be Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), which reportedly went for $300 million, or £191 million in a private sale in February. The Qataris are believed to be the buyers of both works of art.
Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo regarding the work, and stated that the canvas, which he was working on in the summer of 1888, “absolutely kills all the rest.” Art historians believe Van Gogh completed 10 oil paintings and five drawings over a single week in June of that particular year.