Van Gogh painting seized by Nazis during war auctioned for record $35.9m

The work was taken by the Nazis during their occupation of France in the Second World War

Dan Whitcomb
Friday 12 November 2021 09:07
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<p>“Mueles de ble” depicts a haystack in Arles</p>

“Mueles de ble” depicts a haystack in Arles

A Vincent van Gogh landscape seized by the Nazis during their Second World War occupation of France has sold at auction in New York for $35.9 million (£26.8 million), a record for a watercolor by the Dutch impressionist.

The 1888 work, “Mueles de ble”, was purchased for well above its pre-sale estimate of $20-30 million (£15-22.4), auction house Christie’s said.

The painting was last exhibited in 1905.

“Mueles de ble” depicts a haystack in Arles, France, where van Gogh lived for more than a year in the 1880s.

Unlike his best-known work, which were painted with oils, the painting was executed in watercolor, gouache, pen and ink on paper.

The work was initially owned after the artist’s suicide at 37 by his brother, Theo van Gogh. After passing through several owners, it was seized by Nazi forces during their occupation of France.

Following the war, the painting’s whereabouts were unclear until the 1970s. It was in private hands until Christie’s purchased the work through a settlement with the collector and heirs of the original owners.

Van Gogh is considered one of art’s greatest and most influential painters, although he saw little commercial success during his lifetime.

Reuters

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