Young Van Gogh Watercolor Unveiled

Showcases darker tones of earlier work
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2012 9:03 AM CDT
Young Van Gogh Watercolor Unveiled
A sketch of a water color of a pollard willow by Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo in 1882.   (AP Photo/Van Gogh Museum)

For the first time in five years, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has added a new piece to its collection—and it looks a little different from your standard Vincent van Gogh. This one is an 1882 watercolor whose tones are much darker than those the artist later adopted. The painting shows what van Gogh called a "lonely and melancholy" dead willow leaning over a pond near the Hague. The young artist immediately wanted to paint it: "I'm going to attack it tomorrow morning," he wrote to his brother.

"What's so special is it is for the first time a rather substantial work that he executes in color," the museum's director tells the AP. The museum acquired the painting at a London auction for $1.9 million. "It's a very elaborate, well done watercolor and that's quite extraordinary in this period of van Gogh's oeuvre," says a curator. "Out of the blue, in the summer, in July, he makes a series of watercolors ... with a lot of detail, but also very painterly, fluent." (More Vincent Van Gogh stories.)

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