Thursday, February 25, 2010

Art collector Dirk Hannema proved right as Van Gogh work verified

AN ECCENTRIC art collector mocked for insisting one of his paintings was an unknown van Gogh has been vindicated 25 years after his death.

is the first to be authenticated since 1995. It was bought in 1975 by Dutchman Dirk Hannema.

Louis van Tilborgh, curator of research at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, said the painting was unusual for the 19th-century impressionist, depicting large human figures in a landscape.

It shows Parisians climbing wooden steps to a windmill in the Montmartre district.

But the work was typical of Vincent van Gogh at that time in other ways, with its bright colours lathered roughly on the canvas.

Mr van Tilborgh said it was painted in 1886 when the artist was living in Paris. The canvas bore the stamp of an art shop he was known to use, and used pigments common in other works.

The work "adds to his oeuvre", he said. "You can link it to certain works of van Gogh in that period, but not that many of them."

Mr Hannema bought the painting from an antique and art dealer in Paris who did not believe it was of much value.

But the Dutch collector did: he paid £2,000 for it and another unknown work but immediately insured the painting for 16 times what he paid.

• The painting, Le Blute-Fin Mill

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