In 1990, at a star-studded auction, a painting was sold for the astonishing price of $82.5 million--a record-breaking price. That painting, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, was one of Vincent van Gogh's last. Painted exactly one hundred years earlier, this ...
revolutionary and haunting painting has seemed to countless admirers to portray modern life, in van Gogh's words, as something bright in spite of its inevitable griefs. This fascinating book reconstructs the painting's journey and becomes a rich story of modernist art and the forces behind the art market. Masterfully evoked are the lives of the thirteen extraordinary people who owned the painting and shaped its history: avant-garde European collectors, pioneering dealers in Paris and Berlin, a brilliant medievalist who acquired it for one of Germany's great museums, and a member of the Nazi elite who sold it after it had been confiscated as a work of degenerate art. Shortly before the war, the canvas was sent to America before its owner, a Jewish refugee, fled Europe. A remarkable and riveting read in the tradition of Lynn Nicholas's The Rape of Europa, Portrait of Dr. Gachet illuminates, in dramatic detail, the dynamics of the art market and of culture in our time.