Auction in Hamburg: was this mill painted by Vincent van Gogh?

art Auction in Hamburg

Is this mill painted by Vincent van Gogh?

| Reading time: 4 minutes

The painting “The Wijk Mill” is signed van Gogh

The painting “The Wijk Mill” is signed van Gogh

What: Dechow

The auction house Dechow in Hamburg actually auctioned machines, but now a painting with a promising signature is going under the hammer. There are, however, doubts about the attribution to van Gogh.

VFrom laboratory equipment to construction and agricultural machinery, from production systems to vehicle fleets, the Hamburg auction house Dechow, founded in 1904, is auctioning off industrial assets of all kinds. And now a Vincent van Gogh. More precisely, an oil painting with Van Gogh’s signature, accompanied by expert reports and reports. The picture “The Wijk Mill” is not a direct copy, but rather the paraphrase of the same motif by Jacob van Ruisdael, whom van Gogh held in high esteem.

Around 1880 Vincent van Gogh, after various training and career changes, including as a preacher, finally devoted himself to painting largely autodidactically – which also included copying old masters. Van Gogh, who at that time lived in Brussels, respectively in The Hague and other Dutch areas, was impressed by the atmospheric soft painting in shades of brown and gray, by the melancholy motifs of the rural natural mood, which was represented by the very specific impressionism of the Hague School, which was popular at the time. With a few exceptions such as the “Potato Eaters”, his secured works from this period are mostly traded in the mid six-digit price range.

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Ulrich Kuder, professor at the University of Kiel, explains this in detail in several expert opinions. An attribution as Van Gogh’s early work from his Dutch period seems plausible. The scientific investigation of the microanalytical laboratory Erhard Jägers’, the specialist who was significantly involved in the uncovering of the Beltracchi forgeries, came to the rather diaper-soft result that “the results do not contradict an assignment of the painting to Vincent van Gogh or a Dating to the first half of the 80s of the 19th century ”.

If it weren’t for the unusual signature “van Gogh”. The painter always signed with “Vincent”. But a written report provides positive information about the authenticity of the lettering. Since this is an early work, the artist could still have signed with the last name.

No need for action for the Van Gogh Museum

We are moving here in the realm of conjecture – and we are being catapulted into reality rather roughly. Because the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is the only institution that can confirm a Van Gogh work of art. Your judgment is law. And the museum sees no need for action with the “Mill of Wijk”. Incidentally, the experts there are said to be receiving around 15 inquiries a week.

Before the picture came into the inadequate environment of all sorts of large technical equipment, it was presented elsewhere some time ago, including to the experts at the Ketterer art auction house in Munich. The lack of confirmation from Amsterdam immediately waned interest there. That was around 2007.

The current owners in Schleswig-Holstein bought the picture from the granddaughter of a Leipzig merchant. According to the family story, he bought it in Paris in 1904. A point in time when van Gogh and his art were enormously en vogue.

Starting price 500,000 euros

On September 1st, “Die Mühle von Wijk” is waiting for bids online between 9am and 8pm at Dechow, where the digital turnaround in auctioning has already been successfully and thoroughly carried out. A similar pre-inspection appointment in Hamburg on August 28th offers connoisseurs and interested parties the opportunity to form their own judgment.

To think about whether one would like a van Gogh from the early, the conventional Dutch period, the modified copy of a Ruisdael motif in an apparently deplorable state of preservation, a “van Gogh”, which in the eyes of the recognized experts in Amsterdam has no mercy has found. Above all, it is important to consider whether you should start at a starting price of 500,000 euros. In addition, there would be the certainly not insignificant restoration costs.

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The signature, one of the most important aspects for proving the authenticity of an image, becomes a handicap here. Because thanks to style criticism and material reports, the beautiful picture could at least be ascribed to the early Impressionist attempts of Van Gogh; the hard, fast brushstroke and other features are already unmistakable. Admittedly, the consignors would first have to say goodbye to their high expectations.


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