A drawing by Vincent Van Gogh is set to be unveiled at TEFAF Maastricht, after its definitive authentication. The landscape is going on show for the first time for over 100 years, the Guardian reports. The artwork has been valued at $10 million, or £6.6 million. The piece is a graphite, ink, and watercolour on paper, and dates from 1888, created two years before the artist’s untimely death.
After two handwritten numbers were discovered scribbled almost imperceptibly on the back of the work, the British art dealers James Roundell and Simon Dickinson in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, conducted extensive research and discovered that the numbers corresponded with those found on two separate lists of Van Gogh’s works compiled by Johanna, the wife of the artist’s brother Theo.
Johanna, who was widowed in 1891, is credited with popularising her brother in law’s work after his death in 1890. She brought Van Gogh’s work to the attention of critics and dealers, organising exhibitions, although she obviously could never have envisaged the many millions that the artist’s paintings would eventually fetch.
Roundell, a former head of Impressionist and Modern Pictures at Christie’s stated, “She set about trying to build a legacy for him. She could have just burned the lot because, at that point, Van Gogh had no real market.” He went on to explain that the number “5″ corresponds with a list she wrote in 1902, and another number with a list from 1912.
He told the Guardian, “You’re getting a double reinforcement of lists that come direct from Johanna,” adding “I’m excited that we’re able to bring to light information about a drawing which really wasn’t known.”
‘Le Moulin d’Alphonse Daudet à Fontvieille’, depicts vivid green grapevines leading up to a windmill with broken wings in the distance, created shortly after the artist reached Arles, in the south of France. Windmills and vines were among Van Gogh’s most beloved subjects. The drawing has been held in private collections in Europe since it was last displayed in Germany, in 1910.