A painting that sat for six decades in a Norwegian industrialist's attic after he was told it was a fake Van Gogh was pronounced the real thing Monday, making it the first full-size canvas by the Dutch artist to be discovered since 1928.
Experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, authenticated the 1888 landscape Sunset at Montmajour with the help of Vincent Van Gogh's letters, chemical analysis of the pigments and X-rays of the canvas.
Museum director Axel Rueger called the discovery a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Museum officials would not identify the owner who brought the artwork to them in 2011 to be authenticated. Van Gogh paintings are among the most valuable in the world, fetching tens of millions of dollars on the rare occasions one is sold at auction.
The roughly 37-by-29-inch Sunset at Montmajour depicts a dry landscape of twisting oak trees, bushes and sky, and was painted July 4, 1888, according to a reconstruction published in the Burlington Magazine by three researchers.
They said the painting disappeared from history until it reappeared in 1970 in the estate of Norwegian industrialist Christian Nicolai Mustad. The Mustad family said Mustad purchased it in 1908 as a young man in one of his first forays into art collecting, but was soon told by the French ambassador to Sweden that it was a fake. Embarrassed, Mustad banished it to the attic. After Mustad's death in 1970, the painting was sold to a collector. The museum would not say who bought it or whether it had been resold.