Lonely Planet Writer

Rare and unseen Van Gogh sketches go on display in the Netherlands

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam may be home to masterpieces like The Potato Eaters, The Bedroom and Sunflowers, but fans of the revered post-Impressionist painter are flocking to the Singer Laren museum in Laren to see two rare and unseen sketches by the revered artist which have gone on display for the first time.

Impressionism & Beyond, A Wonderful Journey at the Singer Laren gallery.

Neither The Hill of Montmartre with Quarries nor The Hill of Montmartre has been seen in public for 100 years. The former was drawn in 1886 but has been held in a private collection for decades, while The Hill of Montmartre resurfaced in 2013, after which the Van Gogh Museum set about verifying its authenticity.

Hill of Montmartre, March-April 1886.  Image by Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Vincent van Gogh Foundation

Both drawings are now part of the Impressionism & Beyond. A Wonderful Journey exhibition at Singer Laren. The museum will also show works by French Impressionists, post-Impressionists and Expressionists from the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation collection.

The exhibition runs until May. Image by Singer Laren

Speaking about the verification of The Hill of Montmartre, Teio Meedendorp, the senior researcher for the Van Gogh Museum, told AFP: ‘Such a discovery is always great. It’s really exceptional and does not often happen.’

Vincent van Gogh, The hill of Montmartre with stone quarry, March 1886. Image by Van Vlissingen Art Foundation

‘The two drawings are clearly from the same hand and stylistically, are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s model drawings from early 1886, which he initially created in Antwerp and subsequently in Paris, in Cormon’s studio,’ Meedendorp added. ‘The materials used are also identical and the subjects can be linked to paintings created by Van Gogh on Montmartre in spring and early summer. Within Van Gogh’s drawn oeuvre, these two striking works aptly illustrate how the artist was still very much seeking his own style in the winter/spring 1886 period.’

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Image: Jan-Kees Steenman/Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh museum confirmed that there are more than 900 known drawings and paintings by Van Gogh as well as five authenticated sketchbooks. The last work to be unearthed was Roman Youth (after Bargue after Bonnat), a pencil drawing from 1880.