Van Gogh’s oeuvre is very well documented. New works are rarely added to his oeuvre. If you own a painting, drawing, letter or print and would like to find out whether it is by Vincent van Gogh, you can ask the Van Gogh Museum’s opinion by submitting an authentication request.
At the museum we do research into the art of Vincent Van Gogh, and so we have a great deal of specific knowledge about his oeuvre, his iconography, his painting and drawing technique, his choice of materials and the history of his works. This knowledge can help determine whether or not you are the owner of an artwork by Van Gogh.
The museum receives some 300 authentication requests every year. Submitting a request is free. In order to process all of the requests as efficiently as possible, there is a procedure and a number of conditions that need to be met. You can read more about the procedure and conditions below.
In light of the large numbers of authentication requests, most of the artworks are processed based purely on photographs; owners are only occasionally invited to send the actual artworks for more detailed examination. If the museum is not of the opinion that your artwork is by Van Gogh once the photographs have been examined, we will not provide a detailed substantiation of our findings. In such cases, our researchers are of the opinion that the rejected artwork is obviously so far removed from Van Gogh’s own work in terms of style, iconography or materials (or a combination of the three) that no further investigation or discussion is required. In the art historical field, it is not uncommon to reject artworks based solely on photographs and documentation, and the Van Gogh Museum endorses this accepted practice. A new work by Van Gogh is indeed occasionally discovered, but this is exceptional, a rarity.
The artworks itself should only be sent to the museum if you have been invited to do so. Artworks that are sent without an invitation will not be accepted by the museum, and will be returned directly to the sender. The Van Gogh Museum accepts no liability whatsoever with regard to artworks that are sent without an invitation. All associated costs will be charged to the sender.