Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Van Gogh in the Attic

It's a once in a lifetime event - a new full-sized Vincent Van Gogh canvas has been unveiled in the Netherlands.

Sunset at Montmajour was sold in 1901, and went off the radar until it turned up in the collection of a Norwegian industrialist - who had banished it to his attic as it was thought to be a fake.  Which begs the question, what did he pay for it, and under what circumstances was it sold to him as real?  

It all sounds a bit odd, but the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam says we're going to get more details of its discovery in the October edition of The Burlington Magazine.

Admittedly, it's not immediately Van Gogh-like.  It's a picture of some twisty little trees on a hillside, and is a bit sludgy looking.


However,  secondary evidence of letters from Vincent to his brother Theo tie the painting down to a specific day (July 4th 1888) during his time at the Yellow House in Arles in the south of France, when he was painting his sunflowers, his bedroom, and other masterpieces.  

Paint analysis and other samples of materials (presumably the jute canvas) also build up a picture of authenticity.  You can imagine how excited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are about this.

Get up close on the brush strokes and you can think yes, well, that's a Van Gogh brushstroke, even if the effect when you stand back is a bit like a big green duvet.  The technical term (as described by the Van Gogh Museum) is a 'transitional work'.

Here's the actual location,with those wonky trees at Montmajour near Arles.  I guess it kind of does look like a big green duvet anyway.

A rediscovered Van Gogh masterpiece - what do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment