A Van Gogh landscape is to go on show in the Netherlands for the first time in a hundred years, following the uncovering of vital evidence linking it directly to the 19th century Dutch artist. 

Le Moulin d’Alphonse Daudet à Fontvieille will be exhibited at one of the world’s most famous art fairs – the TEFAF in Maastricht. The painting, which dates from 1888 (two years before Van Gogh’s death), is expected to fetch a sum of approximately £6.6 million. Experts have agreed that the existence of two messily scribbled numbers on the back of the painting is conclusive proof of the work’s authenticity. The numbers, which had hitherto been ignored, correspond directly with two indexes of Van Gogh’s works compiled by the artist’s sister-in-law Johanna. 

British art dealers Simon Dickinson and James Roundwell, working in conjunction with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, conducted the research which led to the groundbreaking discovery. Applicants for History of Art and Fine Art will be interested in the discovery of a post-Impressionist work produced on paper, as opposed to canvas. Created using graphite, reed pen and ink and watercolour, the painting depicts a windmill in the background with rows of grapevines in the foreground. 

History students could pick up on two aspects of this story. Firstly, Dickinson and Roundwell’s success demonstrates how thorough, methodical historical research can benefit from an injection of innovative thinking. Secondly, the painting’s provenance sheds new light on the latter years of Van Gogh, an icon of the modern narrative of the Netherlands.  

Finally, Economics applicants might wish to consider the monetary value attached to works of art in the 21st century economy. Compared to other commodities, how safe is an investment in art?

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