SIMON CONWAY falls for the new facsimiles of the Van Gogh sketchbooks
You can get a Hans van Meegeren for about £30,000 in some places, and he – as we all know – was just a big fat forger. In his later career, de Chirico forged his own early works. And you – you yourself can turn amateur forger – you can photocopy your favourite picture for a few quid in most of the big galleries now. Along with postcards, editions, prints, photos, copies of video art – we’re all participating in an authenticity debate.
Perhaps the arid debate about fakes and forgeries is best left for pubs and first year philosophers. However, when there is a copy as exquisitely housed, and as perfectly produced, as the Folio Society’s new Van Gogh sketchbooks (for £445 or so – and hence about £400 more than Van Gogh would have paid) all thoughts of copies and the honesty of copies come suddenly swiftly back into focus.