In Brief

Two Newly Discovered van Gogh Drawings Go on Display

Two new drawings from 1886 have been authenticated by the Van Gogh Museum as original works by the Post-Impressionist Master.

Vincent van Gogh, “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry” (1886) (image courtesy Van Vlissingen Art Foundation)

Specialists at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have discovered a new drawing by Vincent van Gogh, a rare finding that has also led to the authentication of a second, similar work by the painter. The 1886 chalk work, titled “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry,” was acquired by the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation in 2014, which then shared it with experts at the museum. They confirmed it is an original van Gogh following extensive research into its subject, style, technique, materials, and provenance, as the institution announced today.

The work shows a craggy, countryside hill topped with some buildings and a windmill in the distance, a scene that van Gogh painted multiple times. Its finding has allowed specialists to confirm that another drawing in the museum’s collections was made by van Gogh in the same year, when the artist had just arrived in Paris. The similarly titled “The Hill of Montmartre” was previously rejected as one of the artist’s due to “lack of material for comparison,” the museum said.

“The two drawings are clearly from the same hand and stylistically, are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s model drawings from early 1886, which he initially created in Antwerp and subsequently in Paris, in Cormon’s studio,” the museum’s senior researcher, Teio Meedendorp, explained. “Within Van Gogh’s drawn oeuvre, these two striking works aptly illustrate how the artist was still very much seeking his own style in the winter/spring 1886 period. They demonstrate a phase in Van Gogh’s learning process — in Paris, he rediscovered himself, but here, he was still following the traditional artistic path.”

Vincent van Gogh, “The Hill of Montmartre” (1886) (image courtesy Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam / Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Van Gogh had settled in Montmartre, the city’s old artist’s quarter, to live with his brother Theo van Gogh. The museum also found that the newly found drawing was once part of the pair’s collection, until Theo’s widow Johanna van Gogh-Bonger consigned it to the art dealer J.H. des Bois in 1911. He then sold the work about six years later, after which its provenance is now unknown.

As the van Gogh museum notes, the last rediscovery of a drawing by the Post-Impressionist — a pencil work from 1880 — was in 2012. Never before exhibited or featured in a publication, “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry” is now on display at the Singer Laren in the Netherlands, as part of the exhibition Impressionism & Beyond. A Wonderful Journey. The second, recently authenticated drawing is also included in the group show.

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