A painting that Spanish tax authorities claimed was Vincent van Gogh’s Cypress, Sky and Country (1889) is in fact a fake, says an expert in Austria. A raid on Spain's safety deposit boxes used by delinquent tax payers led to the discovery. Two experts were said to have authenticated the painting.
Alfred Weidinger, vice director of Vienna’s Belvedere, knew it was a fake and was surprised that no other van Gogh experts had spoken up since the story broke a week ago. He told Austria's Die Presse, “It is one of the worst fakes or, better yet, copies, that I have ever seen. An amateur must have done it based on a calendar shot of the original.”
Weidinger says the labels that were touted as showing provenance are fakes, including three exhibition stamps on the reverse that place the painting at the Rijksmuseum in 1944, an undated show at Berlin’s Museum der Schöne Künste, and an exhibition at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1974.
The 1889 original from van Gogh's Cypress series hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.