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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Van Gogh work 'by another artist'
Head of a Man, previously attributed to Vincent Van Gogh
The painting was first brought to Australia in 1939
A painting long thought to be by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh has been proven to be the work of another artist, an Australian gallery has announced.

The painting, entitled Head of a Man, has been owned by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne since 1940 and had been valued at around 10.5m.

But after a series of tests, experts in Amsterdam concluded it was most likely to have been painted by a contemporary.

The artwork depicts a curly-haired, bearded man against a brown background.

In a statement released on Friday, gallery director Gerard Vaughan said the piece had been accepted as a Van Gogh for more than 10 years before the gallery bought it.

"The reattribution of paintings is part of the daily life in any major gallery," he said.


The painting was taken to Australia in 1939 by the late newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, father of media mogul Rupert, as part of a travelling exhibition.

It became stranded in the country after the outbreak of World War II and was purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria for A$4,000 (1,680).

Wild Vegetation by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh's Wild Vegetation has been discovered under another work
Doubts over its authenticity surfaced last August when it went on show at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Critics said the 1886 work differed in style to other Van Goghs of the period and was not mentioned in any of the artist's correspondence.

After the exhibition, the painting was sent to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for verification.

Mr Vaughan said he wished to make it clear the painting was not a forgery and had merely been misattributed.

"There is no evidence to suggest someone produced this picture... to pass it off as a work by Van Gogh," he said.

  • In other Van Gogh news, art historians have discovered one of his works hidden beneath another.

    Experts at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum have long wondered whether an 1889 drawing entitled Wild Vegetation was a copy of a completed painting.

    Now an X-ray of Van Gogh's 1889 work The Ravine has uncovered the earlier work, which the artist had painted on the same canvas four months previously.

    The museum plans to display the drawing in an upcoming exhibition. The Ravine is currently owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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