Published: February 4, 2020
By Madelia Hickman Ring
LOS ANGELES — Nearly 20 years ago, the Getty Museum acquired a carved horned head at one time attributed to Paul Gauguin from Wildenstein Gallery in New York City for an undisclosed amount estimated to have been in the $3-5 million range. The museum has now pulled the head from view and withdrawn the attribution.
Is this a case of changing scholarship or outright fakery that did not escape detection by either the gallery or museum experts?
According to a story reported by Artnews.com, a statement released by the museum explains the change in attribution to be “based on scholarly research over recent years by Getty professionals and other experts in the field, including significant new evidence that was not available at the time of its acquisition.” The statement continues, “While we no longer attribute this work of art to Paul Gauguin, it was clearly an important object, known to him through photographs, that played a role in his artistic practice. The sculpture is the subject of ongoing research, which will be published in 2021 and 2022.”
The Getty Museum is at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles. For information, 310-440-7300 or www.getty.edu.
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