A painting sat for over six decades inside the attic of an industrialist from Norway, after he had been told the painting was a fake.
However, on Monday the painting was pronounced as an original Van Gogh, making it the first canvas in full size of the Dutch artist to be discovered in 85 years.
The painting was authenticated on Monday, in Amsterdam, by experts from the Van Gogh Museum. The painting, Sunset at Montmajour, from 1888, was authenticated using Van Gogh’s letters, X-rays of the canvas and analysis of the different pigments.
Axel Rueger, the director of the Museum, during a ceremony for the unveiling, called the painting’s discovery an experience that happens once in a lifetime.
Rueger said the painting is beautiful and came from a time when many believe was the high point of Van Gogh’s artistic achievement, the time he was in Arles, in the south of France.
During that same period, said Rueger, is when Van Gogh completed The Bedroom, The Yellow House and Sunflowers.
Officials at the Museum declined to identify the painting’s owner who brought the artwork in to them in 2011 for authenticating. Paintings by Van Gogh are amongst the world’s most valuable, fetching sums of tens of millions of dollars, when on a rare occasion one is sold in an auction.
Starting on September 24, the artwork can be seen at the museum. The painting is approximately 37 x 29 inches and depicts a landscape of twisting bushes, oak trees and sky.
The exact date of being painted can be determined because Van Gogh described that in one of his letters to Theo, his brother. The letter says he painted it on the previous day, which would have been July 4, 1888.
Van Gogh said the painting was below what he had hoped for and sent it at a later date to Theo.