Sothebys auction house in Paris will soon auction a painting by Vincent van Gogh that has never been shown in public before. The painting was privately owned by a French family for more than a hundred years.
Prior to the auction, the canvas will be exhibited for the first time at Sothebys in Amsterdam, where the painting can be viewed by appointment.
It is a canvas that Van Gogh painted in Paris in the spring of 1887: Scene de Rue à Montmartre, or a Street statue in Montmartre.
Curator of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Nienke Bakker, calls it remarkable that the painting is now on display for the first time. “We have never seen the painting in real life, we know it from literature and images.”
The painting is still in Paris:
There are still more paintings by Van Gogh privately owned, but they are usually loaned or shown, says Bakker. “That is not the case here, and that is certainly rare and special.”
The painting depicts a small street near the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre, located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. At the time, it was a popular entertainment spot, where Van Gogh lived nearby. “You had bars, gardens and a dance hall here. On the canvas you see a gate, where you could go to the gardens of the mill. It is a street scene on the one hand, but it certainly has something rural,” says Bakker.
Bakker hopes that the canvas can be exhibited completely in public after the auction. “Van Gogh made paintings to share with people, so it would be nice if it would hang in a museum, and that many people could see it.”
The canvas can be seen in Amsterdam from 1 to 3 March, after which art lovers can admire the canvas in Hong Kong and Paris. The canvas will then be auctioned in Paris on 25 March. Sothebys expects the artwork to generate between 5 and 8 million euros.