On this page we will look at some features of the painting " the Japanese Cherry Tree"
and see if it is possible to truly be a Van Gogh. While the "ultimate " authority,
the Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam, has turned it's nose up at even considering
to authenticate the painting, we wish to open the consideration to all. The Van Gogh
Museum refuses to authenticate the painting due to the fact that proper
Provenance could not be produced. {Provenance = Line of previous ownership}
At the bottom of the page there will be an E-mail link to contact the owner of the
painting, if an expert may be looking at this and wishes to add information or offer to
authenticate the painting.

Analysis of the painting

The easiest connection to make between van Gogh and this painting is quite simply
the location of the subject. A tree in front of the Vicarage(or Parsonage),
owned by his father, in Nuenen, Netherlands. The parsonage still stands at 26 Berg St.
as you can see in the modern day picture, below. Van Gogh lived and painted in a
small studio in the back of the parsonage from December 1883 to November 1885.
During that time he painted several pictures of the parsonage, its garden, and the view
from the garden. As you will see below, the front of the parsonage was painted in
Septermber to early October 1885. There are drawings from April 1884.



Images of the Parsonage

The Parsonage At Nuenen, 1885
Click to enlarge

The Parsonage today
(Dec 2004)
Click to enlarge



As you can see from the following vintage photographs, there is a tree in front
of the parsonage that resembles the tree on the rear of the painting, the study
of the tree in it's bare, leafless form. In the photograph, the tree is reversed
from the painting, which leads to the assumption that van Gogh was painting
from a location to the left of the parsonage. If you look closely at the painting
you will also notice a slightly elevated view point. Leading one to assume the
painter took position on the second floor. Looking at the photograph on the right
van Gogh could have been painting from either the far left upstairs window of the
parsonage, or in the window of the house next door, presumably owned by
Margot Begemann, whom van Gogh met in January of 1884 and later
became romantically involved with.
Black and white photography of a fine quality were availabe as early as 1837,
by 1880 George Eastman(Eastman-Kodak) started mass producing photographic
plates. Van Gogh mentions color photographs in a letter to his brother Theo,
dating back to November 1873, and in a letter dated September 1884, he says
he had 12 photographs taken of his work to send to his brother and others.


The Parsonage with tree in bloom(*1), at a later date.
Click to enlarge


The Parsonage with Tree, date being researched. (*2) Considered earliest photo
Click to enlarge



mouse over to see animation
For a 2000 X 3008 Jpeg view click here

Left: The study painting has been flipped horizontally,and slightly tilted for comparison
to the photograph above.
The similarity is
unmistakable, in spite
of the perspective angle
being slightly off.



Van Gogh was a prolific artist (2194 known works) and covered many subjects,
from portraits, and self -portaits, to still-lifes, landscapes, architecture, nudes and
nature. In the following examples you can see the likeness of this painting to others
by the artist.


Pink Peach Tree in Bloom(1888)...Pear Tree in Bloom (1888)



The White Orchard (1888)

For a 1924 X 2868 Jpeg view click here

 Dimensions of the painting:
   27 1/4” by 16 ¼   or 
  68 cm  by  41 cm



This is much harder to define as, up until has later years, Vincent
did not actually have a "style" of his own. He was mostly self-taught and experimented in many styles. He covered everything from portraits and figures, to nudes, to landscapes and even works                            
inspired by Japanese woodblock prints.
He has also copied the stylings of his Impressionist peers, like Gaugin and Monet. It goes without saying that he was heavily influenced by his education as a Calvinist minister ( see next page, hidden images, for the religious aspects) .







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There is testimony in a few of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo, of some of the difficulties encountered by Vincent with regards to canvases, paint and foreign objects.

The art of recycling; Vincent barely survived as an artist, living mostly off the graces of his brother Theo. He often "recycled" canvases to minimize his costs which we can see by the quick study found on the back side of this painting. It's very possible that there were many more pieces of his work, that are now painted over that the world will never see....

Letter from Vincent to Theo
Nuenen, July 1885

I wish the 4 canvases I wrote to you about had gone. If I keep them here for much longer, I might paint them over again and I think it's better if you get them just as they come, off the heath.



Paint Daubs; In his early years in Nuenen/Holland, Vincent used diluted oil paints as the price for pure oil paints was prohibitive .He created a “Solide Pate” or “Solid Mass”. He used this technique on the painting<“Country Lane with 2 Figures” {Nuenen 1885}>and in several other paintings constructed in Nuenen. This technique is mentioned in detail in a letter to his brother Theo, letter # 430, dated 4 Nov. 1885.

....Don't let it trouble you when in my studies I just leave the brush strokes as I put them on, with smaller or larger clots of paint. That doesn't matter at all; if one leaves them for a year (or half a year is enough), and then scrapes them off quickly with a razor, one gets a much more solid colour than would be the case after painting thinly. And this scraping off has been done by the old masters as well as by the French painters of today. I believe that glacis of a transparent colour often gets quite dark and disappears in time if they are applied before the picture in its preparation is thoroughly dry; but applied later, they will certainly keep. You yourself made the observation that my studies in the studio became better rather than worse in colour in the course of time. I think this comes from laying the colours on thickly, and not using oil. When it is a year old, the little oil which the paint always contains has evaporated, and the healthy solid part remains......



A piece of newspaper is visible under the paint, in two places of this painting
. These small fragments landed on the canvas possibly thru transfer by the artists brush.

A hazard artists faced was debris landing on their artworks as they painted.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh;
The Hague, 19 August 1882

I brought two small marines home from there.
One of them is slightly sprinkled with sand - but the second, made during a real storm, during which the sea came quite close to the dunes, was so covered with a thick layer of sand that I was obliged to scrape it off twice...

.Nuenen July 1885:
You may think I'm wrong to comment on this, but I'm so struck by the fact that all these exotic pictures were painted in the studio. Just try going outside and painting things on the spot! All sorts of things happen then. I had to pick off a good hundred or more flies from the 4 canvases you're about to receive, not to mention dust and sand, etc., not to mention the fact that if one carries them through heath and hedgerows for a couple of hours, a branch or two is likely to scratch them, etc.


(Unknown person) had the painting auctioned off at a Brighton, England,
auction house (date unknown), the buyer, Mrs. S, then sold it in May 1994
at the Cliffe Antique Centre, Lewes, England. to the current owner.

Van Gogh was known to trade and give away his artworks in his
early years. He reportedly stored many canvases in the attic of the
parsonage in a trunk, which allegedly was purchased by a plumber
for a few guilders, after the death of Van Gogh's father in 1885.
Where are they now?


Click here to see the hidden images.

*1,2 ; see reference page.

Contact the owner: Contact@vangoghcontroversy.com


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