New Van Gogh painting found

6th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 August 2007, AMSTERDAM (AP) - Art historians had known of the Van Gogh drawing, stored at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. But they had always wondered whether it was a copy of a completed painting.

6 August 2007

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Art historians had known of the Van Gogh drawing, stored at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. But they had always wondered whether it was a copy of a completed painting.

Now, at last, the painting itself has been discovered - concealed under another painting in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Van Gogh Museum said Friday.

The work, "Wild Vegetation," painted in June 1889, was discovered in an x-ray of "The Ravine," which Van Gogh painted on the same canvas four months later, the museum said.

Meta Chavannes, conservator at the MFA, said she revealed "Wild Vegetation" by "pure chance," while compiling information for some visiting scholars.

Chavannes said she became a "little bit obsessed" with the painting, so when she went home to the Netherlands on vacation she decided to take the x-ray with her. Once in the Netherlands she went to the Van Gogh Museum, where she showed it to Louis van Tilborgh, a curator at the museum.

"One of our specialists looked at the x-ray and recognised it as resembling a drawing from the museum," said Natalie Bos, a spokeswoman for the Van Gogh Museum.

The museum called the discovery important for researchers and said it would display the drawing, done in brown reed pen, in Amsterdam starting this week as part of an exhibition of Van Gogh's drawings running until 7 October.

Vincent Van Gogh often sent drawings of his painted works to his brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris. The artist, who sold few paintings during his lifetime, relied on Theo to send him supplies, and painted new compositions over his old work if the materials arrived late and he lacked the money to buy his own.

Chavannes said Van Gogh sent his brother drawings of works in order to demonstrate his progress.

"His letters are scattered with requests for paint, tubes of paint, brushes. Basically all the materials he would need," Chavannes said.

At the time "Wild Vegetation" was painted, Van Gogh was confined at the Saint-Remy asylum in southern France. Armed with fresh materials from Theo, he was allowed off the hospital grounds and painted the surrounding landscape, including his famous series "Wheatfields."

The painting was done in a wide range of colours. But the two-toned swirls of the drawing, which has been in the Amsterdam collection, though not on display, disclose little of the vibrancy of Van Gogh's painted works.

Van Gogh, whose career spanned just 10 years, shot himself to death in 1890.

A report on the discovery by van Tilborgh and Chavannes is being published this week in The Burlington Magazine, a leading art journal.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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