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Van Gogh Painting Discovered in Norwegian Attic

September 9, 2013
"Sunset at Montmajour" by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is seen during a press conference at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday.

“Sunset at Montmajour” by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is seen during a press conference at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday.

What’s in your attic? According to the Associated Press, a painting stashed in a Norwegian attic that had been declared not an authentic work by Vincent Van Gogh has just bee declared legit:

The Van Gogh Museum says it has identified a long-lost Vincent Van Gogh painting that spent years in a Norwegian attic and was believed to be by another painter. It is the first full-size canvas by the Dutch master discovered since 1928.

“Sunset at Montmajour” depicts trees, bushes and sky, painted with Van Gogh’s familiar thick brush strokes. It can be dated to the exact day it was painted because Vincent described it in a letter to his brother, Theo, and said he painted it the previous day — July 4, 1888.

Museum experts said the painting was authenticated by letters, style and the physical materials used, and they had traced its history.

Museum director Axel Rueger described the discovery as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” at an unveiling ceremony.

The museum said the painting now belongs to an unidentified private collector and will be on display at the museum from Sept. 24.

Rueger said the museum had itself rejected the painting’s authenticity in the 1990s, in part because it was not signed. But new research techniques and a two-year investigation had convinced them.

Rueger described “Sunset” as ambitious, because the canvas is relatively large, at 93.3 by 73.3 centimeters (36.7 by 28.9 inches).

Van Gogh referred to the work in two other letters in the same summer it was painted, but he said he considered it a failure in several respects.

The location it depicts can be identified: It is near Arles, France, where Van Gogh was living at the time, near Montmajour hill, and the ruins of an abbey of the same name. The ruins can be seen in the background of the work, on the left side.

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