"I myself still find photographs frightful and don’t like to have any, especially not of people whom I know and love."
Vincent Van Gogh, to his sister Willemien, September 19, 1889.*
Hold everything. There's something WRONG on the internet! Since I first posted this deflating article 4 years ago, this erroneous photo has shown up everywhere on the web as being a genuine photograph of Vincent Van Gogh, even Wikipedia. What is the world coming to?! In a nutshell, the photographer and the studio indicated on the bottom of this carte-de-visite is located in SAINT-HYACINTHE, QUEBEC, CANADA. A quick Google tells me there is only one SAINT-HYACINTHE in the world, and it's not in Belgium. The 1901 Canadian Census also indicates that Victor Morin lived in Saint-Hyacinthe and worked as a photographer.
Researchers shouldn't bend the facts to fit their stories. Please pass this on.
Here's the rest of my post from July 2009.
While I was trying to find a photo of Van Gogh to accompany another post I happened upon this photo, supposedly of Vincent Van Gogh. It came to light about 5 years ago and was on display at the Seton Gallery at the University of New Haven in an exhibition titled Discovering Vincent van Gogh: A Forensic Study in Identification.
The man in the photograph does bear a striking resemblance to Van Gogh. The information found on the 4 1/2" X 5 1/2", photograph circa 1886, identifies the photographer as Victor Morin, 42 RUE ST. FRANCOIS, ST HYACINTHE.
The photograph was discovered in the early 1990s by a customer flipping through an album of photographs, mostly of clergymen, dating back to the late 19th century at an antique dealer's in Massachusetts. The man who found the picture saw the resemblance to Vincent Van Gogh and took the photograph to a photo historian who had previously worked on identifying images of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant. The expert was convinced it was Vincent, contesting the veracity of earlier known photos of Vincent, believing them to be his brother instead.
Tests were performed on the photograph by a forensic institute also in New Haven. Investigators matched the size of the forehead, the shape of the eyes and even individual hairs.They too believed this to be Van Gogh stating, "Even the most minute detail matched up, even the smallest hairs on the beards matched up,"
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has contested that the picture is the artist. And rightly so. I’d really like this to be a photo of Vincent Van Gogh – my stomach flipped when I saw it. I love Van Gogh, his letters and his myth. But alas, it’s just wishful thinking. Despite Van Gogh’s hard life, the subject of the photo looks older than the 33 years Vincent would be in the photo. But the quickest Google verifies the photographer Morin as being located in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. There is no other St. Hyacinthe. Not Belgium like the expert says. You just can't bend the facts. (Ancestry.com backs this up as in 1901 Victor Morin is listed as a photographer on the 1901 Canadian Census)
Considering Vincent van Gogh was hungry enough to eat paint and borrowed money constantly from his brother, I don’t think Vincent came to La Belle Province and had his photo taken.
Thanks to an article at Guardian.co.uk, The Guardian, Tuesday 24 February 2004, David Teather