Geraldine Norman was for many years Sale Room Correspondent of The Times of London. She is the author of The Sale of Works of Art, The Fake’s Progress (with Tom Keating and Frank Norman), and, most recently, The Hermitage: The Biography of a Great Museum. (February 1998)



Vincent van Gogh was thirty-seven on July 27, 1890, when he shot himself in the chest on a quiet country footpath and dragged himself home to die in the attic room of a small auberge in Auvers-sur-Oise. It was only in the last two years of his life that he …