London: A UK couple has bought a ‘long-lost’ pastel drawing, believed to be the only full-length portrait of famous Dutch post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh in existence, on an online auction for just 1,500 pounds.
The drawing from the 1890s was found in Versailles where it was last seen in public in 1892 was apparently painted by French artist Jeanne Donnadieu who lived near the artist in Paris and could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if authenticated.
Michael, 47, and Mandy Cruickshank, 41, of Louth in Lincolnshire, became suspicious by the artist’s crumpled hat, similar to one he sketched, and they believed it is the legendary artist in the prime of his artistic career.
After extensive research, the couple is certain that the portrait is of van Gogh’s, a view supported by an examination by facial recognition experts at the University of Dundee.
“We compared the painting with a well known self portrait, two other portraits and a photo of Van Gogh from the period. We were hampered slightly because it was a pastel drawing which is less clear, but there is a good case for it being Van Gogh,” the Daily Mail quoted Caroline Erolin, a lecturer in medical and forensic art, as saying.
The address of artist Jeanne Donnadieu on the back is just four doors from where Van Gogh lived with his art dealer brother Theo. The top hat is like a famous one he sketched and a bible with gilded corners is similar to the one he inherited from his father.
There a number of clues that the painting may be of Van Gogh.
On the wall in the pastel, the words ‘L’Incompris’, meaning the misunderstood, are scrawled. Van Gogh was famous for writing on his own walls, according to experts.
The artist, Donnadieu, wrote her address - 17 Rue Victor Massi - on the back of the original painting, seen in an exhibition in 1892.
The Cruickshanks discovered that the road``s name had been changed in 1887.
It was previously Rue Laval, where Van Gogh lived with his brother Theo, a well-known art dealer, just four doors away at number 25.
A bible with gilded corners in the portrait is the same as one he is known to have inherited from his father, who died shortly before the portrait was drawn.
The portrait is currently being displayed in Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby until September 3.