Vincent Van Gogh only lived in Arles, France, a few months in 1888 and in 1889, but it was a very productive time for him. He spent some of his most productive years as a painter in Arles, France. While there, he painted such masterpieces as famous works like “The Bedroom,” “The Yellow House,” and “Sunflowers.” On Monday, a landscape painting of his that had been considered to be a fake but recently was declared to be genuine, “Sunset at Montmajour,” has been added to the list. It has been valued in the millions.
What is depicted in the newly-discovered Van Gogh landscape?
In the newly-validated painting, you can see the Montmajour abbey in the background, atop a gradually-sloped hill covered with vegetation and trees. Multiple hues of green were used by the artist, to lend a touch of realism to the impressionistic painting. It was stashed in an attic around 100 years ago after an ambassador to Sweden from France declared it to be not a genuine Van Gogh.
The owner of the Van Gogh wishes to remain unnamed. Researchers asked to have another go at validating the painting two years ago, and based on examining comparisons between the techniques used with other Van Gogh works, and also a description of it by him in a letter, “Sunset at Montmajour,” has been declared not to be a forgery after all.
Although Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, came to the same conclusion not more than 20 years ago that the painting was not a genuine van Gogh, experts there on Monday reversed their decision upon a reexamination of the landscape.
According to the director of the museum, Axel Ruger, “A discovery of this magnitude has never before occurred in the history of the Van Gogh Museum.” Continuing on, Ruger referred to the painting as “a transition work,” for Van Gogh, and he further called the time Van Gogh spent in Arles “the culmination of his artistic achievement.” Officials at the Van Gogh Museum wouldn’t place a value on the painting, but other paintings by Van Gogh have fetched over $50 million in auctions.
Nicolai Mustad, a steel industrialist from Norway, likely bought “Sunset at Montmajour,” sometime in 1908, according to experts from the Van Gogh Museum. After the French ambassador to Sweden said it was fake, however, Mr. Mustad hid it in the attic, probably out of embarrassment that he’d been tricked. Mustad, according to the experts, “never wanted to see the landscape again,” and he never had it brought back down from the attic to hang on the walls of his mansion from that day forth.
In 1970, an art dealer examined the canvas and also declared that the painting was a fake. Just a year later, in 1971, another owner requested that the experts at the Van Gogh museum give the painting a look. Once more, the experts said it wasn’t genuine. “Sunset at Montmajour,” according to the museum’s researchers, was purposefully painted to illustrate Van Gogh’s notion that if a person experiences “lofty feelings within him or herself, there is then “no pettiness.” The painting will be exhibited beginning on September 24 at the Van Gogh Museum, and it will become a part of the exhibit called “Van Gogh at Work.”
On Monday, a painting that was once hidden away in an attic as being a fake was declared to be a genuine Van Gogh likely worth a fortune. What treasures are gathering dust in your attic?
Written by: Douglas Cobb