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The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said Monday that a landscape painting that was once hidden away and believed to be a fake, is indeed the work of Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.
Sunset at Montmajour features holly oaks and ruins in the distance, highlighted by sunlight, was painted by Van Gogh in 1888, the museum said. That period of Van Gogh’s life is considered the height of his career, notes the New York Times.
Museum director Axel Rueger was ecstatic, calling the discovery a “once in a lifetime experience,” reports http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/09/art-vangogh-idUSL5N0H51QB20130909>Reuters. “What makes this even more exceptional is that this is a transition work in his oeuvre, and moreover, a large painting from a period that is considered by many to be the culmination of his artistic achievement, his period in Arles,” Rueger added.
The museum had long insisted that the painting was a fake. But with new research - including analysis of the paint and colors and a letter from Van Gogh himself - have proven them wrong. The museum cited a July 5, 1888 Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, expressing disappointment in his work from the previous day. It was even listed in one of Theo’s catalogs.
Christian Nicolai Mustad, a Norwegian industrialist, had owned the painting, but his estate kept it in an attic, assuming it was fake.
Sunset at Montmajour is currently owned by a private collector. It will be on display in Amsterdam for a year at the museum.
image: Wikimedia Commons