Discredited Art Collector's Treasure A Van Gogh After All
It's no Starry Night but "Le Blute-fin Mill" is a Van Gogh after all. Experts have said that the painting of windmills and people against a pale sky is by the Dutch artist. The painting doesn't immediately strike the eye as a Van Gogh, but experts at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum have verified that it dates back to 1886.
"Le Blute-Fin Mill", was put on display in the Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, Amsterdam. It was bought 35 years ago by Dirk Hannema, the founder of the museum, who kept the painting in his own home until he died in 1984. The painting then made its way to the museum but was only displayed a couple of times. Hannema paid around $2,700 for the painting in Paris and was certain that it was an original. His words went unheeded because he had been discredited years before when he bought a Vermeer (one of the works of forger Han van Meegeren) and made it a star exhibit. Hannema had a preferences for seeking out the works of masters that were yet to be attributed to them, the problem was that he was not always right and his eagerness made him an easy target for an enterprising forger (for a riveting read on van Meegeren, check out The Forger's Spell).
The museum had tried back in 1993 to have the windmill painting authenticated but at that point the experts weren't available. Its is believed that Van Gogh painted the work in Paris, the canvas bears the stamp of an art store that he was known to buy materials and pigments from, according to an AP interview with Louis van Tilborgh, curator of research at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.