Danny Kemp (Agence French republic-Presse)
Amsterdam, Netherlands ●
Wed, January 22, 2020
A gloomy self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh was declared genuine on Monday after decades of uncertainty, experts identifying it as the but work painted by the Dutch master while he suffered from psychosis.
The “Cocky Portrait (1889)” — which shows the artist giving a haunted sideways glance against a swirling blue and yellow groundwork — was confirmed as authentic past the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Questions were start raised nearly whether the painting — owned by the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway — was genuine every bit far back as 1970 but the Norwegian museum finally decided to end the doubts but in 2014, sending it to Dutch experts.
Using X-ray analysis of the canvas, studies of the brushwork and references to messages to his brother Theo, experts established it was painted while Van Gogh was in an asylum in Saint-Remy in France in the late summer of 1889.
“The self-portrait that is backside me has been doubted for a very long fourth dimension,” Louis van Tilborgh, senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum, told AFP every bit he showed off the picture.
“Information technology’south a work of art that for all kinds of reasons was by him but nevertheless also had sure aspects that were dissimilar from other pictures.
“So we had to find an explanation for that and that was difficult, but I remember we’ve solved that and then nosotros’re proud that we’ve more or less given the work back.”
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The Oslo museum bought the painting in 1910 from a collector in Paris for ten,000 francs, making it the start Van Gogh self-portrait to enter a public collection, only doubts have swirled about information technology for some 50 years.
It uses less vibrant colors to other works from the same catamenia, including muted dejection and sickly yellows, and some of the paintwork looks less finished.
But the new findings establish the painting as a companion piece to two famous self-portraits finished weeks after when he emerged from his psychosis, at present in the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
“Although nosotros were open to all possibilities, of course we are very happy” that the painting is genuine, said Mai Britt Guleng, curator of sometime masters and modern art at the Oslo museum.
“This is very of import for us to know that we have a 18-carat Van Gogh over again in our collection considering it has been doubted for several years.”
Van Tilborgh said that unlike them the Oslo painting “firmly depicts someone who is mentally ill”.
A year before painting the self-portrait, Van Gogh had cut off his own ear later on a row with his friend the painter Paul Gauguin, first a long spell in and out of hospitals and asylums.
Read likewise: Vincent van Gogh: Five things to know
The Oslo painting is the only one that can exist linked to a self-portrait Van Gogh described in his a letter to his brother on September xx 1889 as “an attempt from when I was ill”.
The painter was striking by a “severe psychotic episode” lasting a month and a half from July of that year, and although feeling able to paint again past the stop he said he was withal “disturbed”.
The researchers said the self-portrait must have been painted shortly afterwards another letter dating from August 22 and before the two more than famous portraits he painted in September.
“Although Van Gogh was frightened to admit at that point that he was in a similar state to his fellow residents at the asylum, he probably painted this portrait to reconcile himself with what he saw in the mirror: a person he did not wish to be, yet was,” said van Tilborgh, who is too Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam.
“This is part of what makes the painting so remarkable and even therapeutic. It is the but work that Van Gogh is known for certain to have created while suffering from psychosis.”
The painting is currently on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and will render to Oslo when its new national museum opens in 2021.
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