Rediscovered flower still life by Vincent van Gogh in Kröller-Müller Museum

Van Gogh Museum part of the research team

20 March 2012

After lengthy research the Kröller-Müller Museum has another Van Gogh painting to its name: Still life with meadow flowers and roses.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Still life with meadow flowers and roses, 1886, Kröller-Müller MuseumIts authenticity had been in doubt ever since it was added to the collection in 1974, due to the unusual size of the canvas and the anomalous signature among other things. The work was dismissed in 2003 and has been listed as ‘artist: anonymous’ ever since. Now, nine years later, a team of researchers from the TU Delft, the University of Antwerp, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Hamburg, the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum has succeeded in confirming its authenticity.

The results are now presented in the article Rehabilitation of a flower still life in the Kröller-Müller Museum and a lost Antwerp painting by Van Gogh, a prepublication of Van Gogh Studies 4.

New research technique
An X-ray image made in 1998 already revealed that the flower piece was painted over another depiction: the scene with the torsos of two wrestlers grasping each other by the arms. This X-ray continued to fascinate researchers. The new research technique MA-XRF (Macro Scanning X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry) made it possible to analyze both paintings in greater detail. This revealed not only a defining characteristic of the academy in Antwerp, namely that the male models posed half naked in contrast to academies elsewhere, but that the pigments used correspond entirely with Van Gogh’s palette at that time. Furthermore, it was also possible to recognize Van Gogh’s typical brushstrokes in the now far more visible depiction.

These and other arguments explained in detail in the article leave no doubt that the wrestlers and the flower still life were painted by Van Gogh.

Van Gogh Studies 4
Van Gogh: New Findings (Van Gogh Studies part 4) will be available from June 2012 and is published by WBooks under the auspices of the Van Gogh Museum.

The publication Rehabilitation of a flower still life in the Kröller-Müller Museum and a lost Antwerp painting by Van Gogh, by Luuk Struick van der Loeff, Matthias Alfeld, Teio Meedendorp, Joris Dik, Ella Hendriks, Geert van der Snickt, Koen Janssens and Meta Chavannes is available as a prepublication in the Kröller-Müller Museum shop (in English).

Still life with meadow flowers and roses is on display from 20 March in the Kröller-Müller Museum, together with Van Gogh’s Roses and peonies and Flowers in a blue vase.

See full article on Kröller-Müller Museum website.

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