March 20, 2012 / 4:57 PM / 5 years ago

Dutch museum finally attributes painting to Van Gogh

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch museum said on Tuesday it has finally been able to attribute an anonymous painting in its collection to 19th century post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh.

The Kroller-Muller museum said on Tuesday that new research using X-ray technology had allowed it to conclude that "Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses" was painted by Van Gogh in 1886 over top of an earlier work believed to have been done by the Dutch artist while he was at art school in Antwerp.

The painting -- featuring poppies, cornflowers, forget-me-nots, wild larkspur, German chamomile, pink-red cabbage roses, yellow chrysanthemum, and ox-eye daisies, has been owned by the Kroller-Muller museum for nearly 40 years.

For years, art experts doubted that it was Van Gogh's work due to the unusual size of the canvas, among other things.

A new research technique using Macro Scanning X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry showed the work's palette matched pigment used by Van Gogh during his period in Paris, even though the overall result appeared somewhat darker, the museum said in a statement.

"The still life was painted in at least three stages with drying time in between, but the boundaries between the stages cannot be determined precisely," the museum said.

"The upper part was painted first and from life, according to the flower season most likely at the beginning of June (1886) at the earliest."

The images showed that the flower piece was painted over another work: a scene with the torsos of two wrestlers grasping each other by the arms, that is believed to have been painted by Van Gogh while he was at art school in Antwerp.

In early 1886 Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: "This week I painted a large thing with two nude torsos - two wrestlers."

"Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses" had been with private collectors until 1974 when the Kroller-Muller museum bought it in an auction.

Reporting By Ivana Sekularac, editing by Paul Casciato

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