Auction house Sotheby’s in Paris will soon be auctioning 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 Sotheby’s in Amsterdam, where the painting can be viewed by appointment.
This is a canvas that Van Gogh painted in Paris in the spring of 1887: Scene de Rue à Montmartre, in other words, a ‘Street scene in Montmartre’.
Curator of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Nienke Bakker, says it is remarkable that the painting is now being exhibited for the first time. “We have never seen the painting in real life, we know it from the literature and pictures.”
There are more paintings by Van Gogh in private possession, but they are usually lent or displayed, says Bakker. “That is not the case here, and that is certainly rare and special.”
The painting depicts a street near the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre, located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. At the time it was a popular nightlife 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. On the one hand, it is a street scene, but it certainly also has something rural”, says Bakker .
Van Gogh made paintings to share with people, so it would be nice if it were to hang in a museum.
Bakker hopes that the canvas can be exhibited completely publicly after the auction. “Van Gogh made paintings to share with people, so it would be nice if it were to 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 March 25. Sotheby’s expects the artwork to yield between 5 and 8 million euros.