Van Gogh Masterpiece Set For Auction

Posted on September 21, 2007

Photo of Vincent Van Gogh's self portraitThe last painting done by Vincent Van Gogh will go on sale for the first time. The painting has been in the hands of a private collector and is expected to set a record price at auction. It is called "The Fields" and is also known as "Wheat Fields." Van Gogh completed the painting just 19 days before he died after having shot himself in a field.
It will be unveiled at Sotheby's in London next month on October 7, and will be sold at auction in New York a month later. The estimated list price is $34 million dollars. However, it is expected to go for much more than the list price, due to its importance and the currently booming art market. The Fields is expected to provoke one of the heaviest bidding wars.

A spokeswoman for Sotheby's said of the painting: "As a unique work of art from the final days of the artist's life, the price will most likely be driven by passion. This is perhaps the last opportunity for a collector to acquire a landscape of this quality by Vincent van Gogh."

Van Gogh's brother, Theo, was extremely emotionally attached to the painting. So much so that he kept it in the family collection for 20 years before his widow Johanna sold it to a private collector, Paul Cassirer, in 1907. Since then the painting has exchanged hands in private collections, but has never entered the public market.

Many doctors have tried to determine what kind of mental illness Van Gogh suffered from in his later years, which led to his eventual suicide. One of the most popular theories was that he suffered from epilepsy and was bipolar. In any event, his genius lived on far after his death. He only sold one painting during his lifetime. Today this one painting alone is expected to fetch at least $30 million at auction.

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