Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Stolen Van Gogh sketch found on sale in New Mexico for $250

Here’s the article on the Santa Fe news website yesterday, and my favorite excerpts:

A Vincent Van Gogh drawing stolen from a Santa Fe home in May was recovered Thursday from a consignment shop in Raton, where it was on sale for $250, police said.


The Van Gogh drawing was a sketch for the artist’s later painting, The Night Café. The black-and-white drawing looks exactly like the finished painting, except the drawing doesn’t have Van Gogh’s signature, the owner told The New Mexicanin August.

Police estimated the drawing was worth about $200,000 in August, though the owner said that number was far below the work’s value and “not even remotely accurate.”

The owner said his great-grandfather originally bought the drawing and that it had been in his family for three generations.

I find this particularly interesting due to the theme of value. Vincent’s work has become a commodity, objects especially worthy of robbery followed by a quiet, under-priced resale out of sheer desperation during the months of a recession.

I think of the value this little drawing had for you when you made it; it was a study most likely never meant to be sold.

I think of the value for the owner – who claims $200,000 is not even remotely accurate (because it is “a Van Gogh”? because it was a family heirloom? because of the owner’s personal associations with the drawing? And then, how do we put a price on these things:  on fame, on the past, on emotions?)

I think of the fact that it was treasured and passed down three generations. I think of how you are valuable now, so unlike how you and everything you made were treated during your life.

Fri, September 11 2009 » Popular Culture

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