Jul 30, 2020

By Jane Brown

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The exact location where Dutch master Vincent van Gogh painted his last work has been pinpointed after being hidden in plain view for years among a tangle of roots next to a rural lane near Paris.

Experts say the discovery sheds new light on the anguished painter’s mental state on the day he is widely believed to have fatally shot himself.

A Dutch researcher realized that the scene depicted in the troubled artist’s final work, “Tree Roots,” was visible on a faded picture postcard featuring a man standing next to a bicycle on a back street of the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, 35 kilometres north of Paris.

The iconic artist spent the last weeks of his life in the village and completed dozens of paintings there. Helpfully, the card even included the name of the street.

The discovery by Wouter van der Veen, scientific director of the Van Gogh Institute in France, provides a new glimpse of the artist in his final hours.

It means art historians can now see that Van Gogh worked on the painting until the end of the afternoon, meaning he spent much of the day concentrating on the canvas.

The painting, which is not considered to have been completed by Vincent van Gogh, hangs in the Amsterdam Museum.

According to the museum’s version of Vincent van Gogh’s life, after working on “Tree Roots” the artist walked into a nearby field of wheat later in the day and shot himself in the chest with a pistol. He died two days later, on July 29th, 1890, aged 37.

Two American authors cast doubt on the theory in 2011, suggesting the artist was shot by two teenage boys.

Van der Veen believes the museum’s version of events and agrees his new discovery shows that Van Gogh had his wits about him and was methodical in his thinking before he pulled the trigger to kill himself.

(The Associated Press)

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