Vincent Van Gogh is one of the rare master artists whose work is almost as interesting as his personal life. A living example of the mad genius stereotype, Van Gogh wasn’t the most productive artist of his day, but he remains one of the most popular in the world, with paintings fetching tens of millions of dollars in the wake of his untimely death at age 37. The expressionist painter remains a favorite in the art world, selling millions of prints and inspiring melon-carving artists to this very day. It’s a big deal when any major artist has a lost painting that is discovered, so prepare yourselves for a big deal. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has uncovered a lost Van Gogh painting, “Sunset at Montmajour.”
“A discovery of this magnitude has never before occurred in the history of the Van Gogh Museum,” said museum director Axel Ruger. The painting is believed to date from 1888, which Ruger calls “a period that is considered by many to be the culmination of his artistic achievement. He added, that the museum verified the painting after “extensive research into style, technique, paint, canvas, the depiction, Van Gogh’s letters, and the provenance.”
The painting was apparently part of a collection owned by Theo Van Gogh, brother of Vincent, in about 1890 or so. It was sold in 1901, then disappeared for awhile until apparently being rediscovered in 1970 as part of a private collection. The unsigned painting was previously dismissed as a Van Gogh by the museum in the 1990’s, but a two-year process of investigation using modern techniques has apparently verified the painting as a legitimate part of Van Gogh’s surviving work. It was apparently mentioned in a letter from Vincent to Theo as having been done July 4, 1888.
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