Twenty-three years ago, Maurice Wertheim '06 donated a painting of six grungy leather shoes sitting on a dirty canvas backdrop to Harvard.
"Three Pairs of Shoes" now hangs in Harvard's Fogg Art Museum, and a small plaque defines its worth. It is labeled as a late-work of Vincent Van Gogh, whose name alone launches the piece into the pricey stratosphere of the art world.
But some experts now consider this painting a fake.
A front-page article in The Art Newspaper by Martin Bailey documents more than 100 paintings and drawings that some scholars believe someone other than Van Gogh painted.
Besides "Three Pairs of Shoes," the alleged fakes include one of the Dutch master's famous Sunflowers series-sold at auction in 1987 to a Japanese firm for $39.5 million-and two self-portraits, including one owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.