The Long-Lost Van Gogh Painting That Was Stashed Away in a Norwegian Attic

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 9 2013 12:41 PM

The Long-Lost Van Gogh Painting That Was Stashed Away in a Norwegian Attic

Director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Alex Ruger presents a painting by Vincent van Gogh, entitled 'Sunset at Montmajour' and painted in 1888, on September 9, 2013, in Amsterdam

Photo by Olaf Kraak/AFP/Getty Images

After decades of doubts about its authenticity, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on Monday confirmed the existence of what it says is a major new work by the famed Dutch artist, making it the first full-size Vincent Van Gogh painting to be discovered in 85 years.

"Sunset at Montmajour" was purchased by a Norwegian industrialist in 1908, who was later told the work was a fake and subsequently stashed it in his attic. In 1991, the owner's family asked the Van Gogh Museum to authenticate the painting, but the museum declined to do so believing it wasn't the real deal. But now, thanks to new evidence, the painting has been confirmed as a genuine long-lost work by Van Gogh. Here's the Associated Press with more:

[W]hen the museum took a fresh look at the work in 2011, they had the advantage of a newly edited and published compendium of all Van Gogh's letters, and were able for the first time to identify the exact location "Sunset" depicts: Monmajour hill, near Arles, France. The ruins of Monmajour abbey can be seen in the background on the left side of the painting. ... Meanwhile, an X-ray examination of the canvas showed it was of the same type Van Gogh used on other paintings from the period, such as "The Rocks," which hangs in Houston's Museum of Fine Arts.

The painting, which is the first Van Gogh discovered since 1928, will go on display at the Van Gogh Museum beginning September 24.


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