At the beginning of this week a surprising news arrived about the attribution of the painting “Sunset at Montmajour” to the great painter Vincent Van Gogh. This painting was well known but but for a long time it was considered a fake. In 2011, however, the Van Gogh Museum started an investigation that after two years has led to the announcement of its authenticity.
According to the new reconstruction of its history, the “Sunset at Montmajour” is one of the works painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1888, during the period when he lived in Arles, in the south of France. It was one of the works that were part of the inventory of Theo Van Gogh, the painter’s brother who inherited them after his death, which occurred on July 29, 1890.
The traces of the painting became vague after it was sold in 1901 until 1908, when it was purchased by the Norwegian industrialist Christian Nicolai Mustad, who put it on display in his home. According to what was told by his family, it was the French ambassador in Sweden who told him that it probably wasn’t authentic after seeing it.
About twenty years ago, the “Sunset at Montmajour” was shown to the staff of the Van Gogh Museum but it was considered a fake because it wasn’t signed. It was only in 2011 that new investigation techniques allowed to start a new investigation of the painting. Its style and materials were examined. Among the evidence of its authenticity there are also some letters of Vincent Van Gogh: one in which he tells his colleague Emile Henri Bernard that he was in Montmajour and another to his brother Theo in which he describes a landscape that matches the painting.
Now the “Sunset at Montmajour” will be shown in an exhibition dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh in the Amsterdam’s museum from September 24. Of course, this will make art lovers happy but this news also has a curious twist because fans of the television series “Doctor Who” are talking about it as well.
In the upper left area of the “Sunset at Montmajour” there’s a blue object that could be the abbey of Montmajour. However, according to “Doctor Who” fans it oddly resembles the Tardis! Most likely it’s just a case in which we see what we want but the coincidence is really curious.
Since Vincent Van Gogh was the star of the episode “Vincent and the Doctor”, in the fifth season of the new series, “Doctor Who” fans have been eyeing any news about the great painter, myself included. 😉 It was therefore inevitable that this discovery became the subject of a lot of discussions.