At the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam “Sunset at Montmajour” has been authenticated as a Vincent van Gogh original. It was painted in Arles in 1988 during the most important period of the artist’s life when he also painted “The Sunflowers,” “The Yellow House,” and “The Bedroom.” It is a painting of dusk in Montmajour with the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey situated in the background. The Van Gogh Museum said that a major discovery of a painting of this size last occurred in 1928. An estimate of the paintings worth puts in in the tens of millons of dollars.
Until 1901, “Sunset at Montmajour” was held in the family collection of Vincent’s brother, Theo. Theo’s wife sold it to a Paris art dealer who then sold it to a Norwegian dealer in 1908. The Norwegian dealer deemed it a fake primarily because van Gogh is considered a modern painter and this piece is a traditional 19th century landscape painting. The current owners eventually plucked the painting from the Norwegian dealer’s attic. Two years ago, they brought it to the Van Gogh museum where it has been studied ever since. The experts deemed it an original because the pigments match those used by van Gogh in Arles.
In the midst of conflict in strife in Syria, it’s nice to hear about something as extraordinary as a van Gogh original coming out of the woodwork. It’s nice to hear about something other than chemical weapons in the news. I’m sure that the art world and lovers of van Gogh are having an extremely exciting day.