Researchers from the van Gogh Museum announced the discovery of an unknown drawing by the painter Vincent van Gogh, made a month after the artist’s arrival to Paris in 1886.

It is said that great artists continue painting even after death. The Hill of Montmartre with Quarry is the most recent work of one of the most famous painters in history: Dutchman Vincent van Gogh.

 Vincent van Gogh: The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry. Painted in Paris, 1886. Photo by: Szilas.
Vincent van Gogh: The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry. Painted in Paris, 1886. Photo by: Szilas.

Teio Meedendorp, an experienced museum researcher named after the artist in Amsterdam, analyzed and studied the subject matter, style, technique, materials, documents, and origin of the drawing to determine that it was indeed made by van Gogh’s fist. The investigation proved that the work had been inherited from the wife of his brother Theo, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger.

The drawing dated March 1886, four weeks after the arrival of van Gogh to Paris, in what would be his second and most prosperous period, will now be part of the world’s largest collection of works by van Gogh. More than 500 drawings, sketches, and paintings are housed in the van Gogh Museum.

The significance of the drawing

Beyond the visual qualities of the drawing, The Hill of Montmartre with Quarry represents “a kind of missing link between the time he (van Gogh) spent in Belgium and his stay in Paris,” said Fred Leeman, an expert in van Gogh’s art and curator, who is also an advisor to the van Vlissingen Foundation, which currently owns the drawing.

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Obviously, the drawing is a clear example of the painter’s palette of cold and earthy colours – long before he experimented with warm and vivid tones from his time in Paris – in which the scenes of the local people were the backbone, in addition to his own experiences, since, at the age of 26, van Gogh enlisted as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium. It was precisely there that he decided to dedicate to art, although his inclination for it came from childhood.

The van Gogh Legacy

Just look at the hordes of people who want to photograph The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh’s magnum opus, currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Not even neighboring works in the museum, such as Pablo Picasso’s The Young Ladies of Avignon, or Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, generate so much anxiety in the spectators of the art establishment.

Vincent van Gogh died at the early age of 37, in his workshop house in southern France, after a gunshot wound. Known as the cursed painter, the death of van Gogh is still a mystery. There are those who believe that he shot himself as he walked through a field, due to his inexhaustible depression; others believe that the gunshot wound was an accident. But whatever the real reason for his death, the legacy of one of the most formidable painters in history will continue for eternity.

Nowadays, the painter is one of the most desired by art collectors. Recently, the Artcurial house in Paris auctioned the painting Fishing net menders in the Dunes by van Gogh, worth more than eight million dollars. The painting, done during 1882, four years prior The Hill of Montmartre with Quarry, which belongs to the artist’s youth period, was adjudicated at 8 million 262 thousand dollars, according to sources at the auction house. The piece is now in possession of an unidentified American collector according to data from the auction house.

Vincent van Gogh early work. 1882 painting Fishing Net Menders in the Dunes (Raccommodeuses de filets dans les dunes). Photo by: Artcurial.
Vincent van Gogh early work. 1882 painting Fishing Net Menders in the Dunes (Raccommodeuses de filets dans les dunes). Photo by: Artcurial.

Juan Vargas, an audiovisual artist and expert lecturer in 19th-century art, from Pontifical Xavierian University, in Bogota, Colombia, said “the fact that this new piece by van Gogh was found aroused the interest of collectors in his art. In addition, the idea that the piece was painted during his period in France, helped to awaken the curiosity of this country for van Gogh’s amazing art.” That is exactly why the auction was the first of a painting by Van Gogh to be organized in France in over twenty years.