Art Market

After decades of uncertainty, this painting has been authenticated as a Vincent van Gogh.

Wallace Ludel
Mar 25, 2019 4:30PM, via New York Times

Vincent van Gogh, Vase With Poppies, 1886. Courtesy Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, via Wikimedia Commons.

A painting at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut has officially been authenticated and attributed to Vincent van Gogh by a team of scholars at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The provenance of the painting, titled Vase With Poppies (1886), was originally called into question in 1990 by art historian Walter Feilchenfeldt and was taken out of display and moved to storage.

Through the years, authenticating technology and knowledge of Van Gogh’s life and work have progressed dramatically, and so the museum decided to take another look. A digital X-ray done at the Wadsworth first revealed an underpainting that looked to be a Van Gogh self-portrait. After that, the Amsterdam institution analyzed the artwork’s paint, materials, and style, concluding that it was indeed a Van Gogh. The painting, a still life of red poppies in a vase, is said to fit stylistically with other floral paintings the artist made shortly after moving to Paris to live with his brother Theo in 1886.

Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum, told the New York Times:

One can say that slowly but surely, real progress is being made in van Gogh studies. [...] Some of these floaters even turned out to be firmly anchored in van Gogh’s oeuvre, and ‘Vase With Poppies,’ I am happy to say, is one of them.

The painting will go back on display at the Connecticut museum next month.

Wallace Ludel