Photo Courtesy of Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
unveiled a newly discovered Van Gogh painting Sunset at Montmajour
(1888) on Monday, which will be on display in their current "Van Gogh at Work" exhibition (ending January 12, 2014). The authenticity process took two years to complete because not only is this a major
discovery, it also marks a transitional period in the artist's work — a time that is considered to be the pinnacle of Van Gogh's artistic vision.
According to Bloomberg
, the artwork belongs to private collectors who wish to remain anonymous. In 1890 the painting was owned by Van Gogh's brother Theo and sold in 1901. Apparently around 1908, Sunset at Montmajour
was bought by a Norwegian industrialist and collector named Christian Nicolai Mustad, who then showed it to a French diplomat who wrote the painting off as a fake or mistakenly identified. It was kept in Mustad's attic until his death in 1970 and then changed owners a few times, each owner purchasing it based on the assumption that it wasn't real. When it was first presented to the Van Gogh Museum in 1991, the establishment agreed it wasn't a Van Gogh because "the location was not known and not recognized" by specialists.
Since, it's been discovered that Van Gogh painted it during his time in Southern France in Arles — which was the same time period in which he created Sunflowers
, The Yellow House
and The Bedroom
. They even found references to the work in two letters written by the troubled artist, one expressing dissatisfaction with the finished product.