The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A Van Gogh for $83!

Tokyo, Feb. 7 (AFP): A Van Gogh oil painting would have changed hands for a little over $80 as the work of an anony-mous artist at an auction scheduled for the weekend, if not for a last-minute seal of authentification.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam told the Tokyo auctioneer, Shinwa Art Auction Co., in the small hours of today that the profile of a middle-aged peasant woman was an early work by the Dutch impressionist master (1853-1890).

“We received from the museum overnight a research report which has certified the work as an authentic Van Gogh,” Shinwa managing director Shinji Hasada said today.

“From the beginning, we had considered the possibility that the painting was a Van Gogh,” he said.

“But we initially set its estimated bidding price at 10,000-20,000 yen ($83-167) because we had to state its painter as unknown.”

Hasada has now raised the estimated price under the hammer at tomorrow’s auction to at least three million yen ($25,000).

The dark brownish oil canvas, 41 cm high by 35 cm wide, is certified by the museum as the “Peasant Woman” which was painted between November 1884 and May 1885 when Van Gogh worked in Neunen.

It was one of some 170 pieces of art work to be placed in the auction as part of a collection of the late Japanese painter, Kazumasa Nakagawa (1893-1991), an admirer of Van Gogh and French impressionist giant Paul Cezanne.

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