A fascinating suggestion in yesterday’s gossip column in The Age. Daniel Ziffer has reported the remarkable resemblance between the NGV’s ‘Head of a Man’, formerly attributed to Van Gogh, and ‘Portrait of Ivan Pochitonov’ by Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuznetsov (1882). I have mentioned the recent controversy about its attribution before.
Apparently someone called Bill Rawlinson tried to alert the NGV to his long-held concerns about the image on the front cover of the Wordsworth Classics edition of Dostoevsky's ‘The Idiot’. The painting is in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
The gallery's Sue Coffey said curators commented that it was an "interesting comparison" but the two works had distinctly different noses and coloured eyes.
Nevertheless, the resemblance could be a solid lead in what should be the most pressing question before the curators of the NGV, namely, who painted ‘Head of a Man’, in what circumstances, and why does a painting apparently done in 1885 without reference to the contemporary Van Gogh so resemble his style?