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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Van Gogh works fetch £8m
Van Gogh letter
The letter from Van Gogh to his brother was a rare find
Three works by artist Vincent Van Gogh including one with a letter written on the back of it have fetched £8,471,750 at auction in London.

The sale included a unique "lost" pen and ink sketch of his house in Arles just 21 cm high with a letter to the artist's brother Theo on the reverse.

The text is considered to be the only known example of the artist ending a letter on the back of a drawing.

The drawing, which fetched £845,250, had not been on the market or exhibited for nearly 80 years until the sale at Christie's auction house.

Just one line of the letter has been published before, back in 1928 in the de la Faille Catalogue Raisonné of Works on Paper.

The sale of Impressionist and Modern art at Christie's auction house, which also takes place 150 years since Van Gogh's birth, also included two paintings.

 La maison de Vincent à Arles
La maison de Vincent à Arles was thought to have been lost
Nature Morte, Vase avec Oeillets, which was completed in 1890, sold for £4,261,250 and is considered to be a fascinating example of the work the artist produced after he left Paris for the South of France in 1888.

It is thought to have been painted in the house of Dr Gachet, at Auvers.

And Une Liseuse de Romans, an oil on canvas, fetched £3,365,250.

It was painted in September 1888, and depicts a woman reading a book.

Une Liseuse de romans was painted in 1888
Une Liseuse de Romans was painted in 1888
A separate Van Gogh work made the news recently when it was among three valuable paintings stolen from an art gallery in Manchester in April.

A month later they were found and put back on display at the same venue.

The works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin - worth a total of £4m - were taken from the Whitworth Art Gallery.

They were found the following day wrapped in a cardboard tube in a nearby disused public toilet.

Nature Mort, Vase avec Oeillets
Nature Mort, Vase avec Oeillets fetched £4,261,250
A note from the thieves claimed the paintings were taken to highlight poor security at the gallery.

One of the paintings - Van Gogh's Fortifications of Paris with Houses, painted in 1878 - had to be restored after it suffered a six-inch tear in the corner.

Stolen paintings back on show
19 May 03  |  Manchester
Gallery theft 'may be inside job'
29 Apr 03  |  Manchester
Stolen paintings can be repaired
28 Apr 03  |  Manchester
Art masterpieces stolen in raid
28 Apr 03  |  Manchester
Van Gogh birthday marked
30 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Van Gogh find sells for $500,000
08 Feb 03  |  Entertainment

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