There are several reasons why this painting can be a genuine Van Gogh. The first, and most obvious indicator is that it is signed 'Vincent', which also appears to be quite similar to those already authenticated; The location of the signature fits, as does the paint color. However, Vincent did sign his paintings in various locations and used black paint as well as red, blue and other colors.
The signature analysis will need to be carried out by a professional.
If the signature proves to be fraudulent, there are still ample more tests to determine authentication. Van Gogh's 1882 painting View of the Sea at Scheveningen is authentic although had a fake signature applied at one point.
The painting was found in a dilapidated inn in Belgium.
We are aware that Vincent lived in Belgium on a few occasions, and that he frequented inns. Perhaps the painting was a trade, as he did so often for food and lodging.
Provenance is almost certainly connected to his student and good friend Anton Kerssemakers because the painting is part of a series owned by the Keunen family. The Keunen's are indirect descendants through marriage to Anton, who own four Van Gogh/Kerssemakers collaborations which were found in Anton's Eindhoven house after he passed away.
The 4 paintings have been analyzed extensively over the years and scientific research has determined the hand of Vincent Van Gogh.
There is no question that the four paintings are by the same artist/s who created Farmhouse with Barn and Well.
Having been in contact with the agent for the Keunen family I can say with certainty that the painting in question has Van Gogh's brushwork. I have promised not to share their findings but, this painting, or at least parts of it, is by Vincent van Gogh.
One other theory of how the painting ended up in Belgium, may be attributed to the many Belgium refugees who were temporarily housed in Eindhoven during WWI.
Given that this painting is extremely fragile, it was decided to further protect it from the elements while research is carried out. Today it is being held in a secure climate controlled storage deposit.
The owner of the painting in question has long been a Vincent Van Gogh admirer, and as such feels deep regret that the painting is in such dire need of restoration.
It is known that MANY of Vincent's paintings suffered such fate over the years. Naturally, those which have since been authenticated in this day and age have been restored, but even Jo Van Gogh-Bonger vehemently opposed anyone touching Vincent's paintings, even at the suggestion of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Vincent Willem van Gogh took a different approach however after his mother passed away, and many of Vincent's paintings were very, very carefully treated.
Some of the paintings in private collection, and those unauthenticated such as this one, remain damaged through the test of time.
It's hard to determine for sure. Vincent was introduced to emerald green by his favorite paint supplier, Petrus Joannes Tyck when he moved to Antwerp in late 1885. He also began using a different type of canvas.
Paint pigment analysis will determine if the green underlying paint came before his move to Antwerp or after.
When Vincent moved to Paris, his choice of canvas changed again as his primary suppliers became Tasset et L'Hote, and also Pere Tanguy. He started using ready-made canvases in standard format; Some of which, were stamped by the manufacturer or retailer, and also some of the stretcher bars were stamped as is the case with Portrait of Agostina Segatori.
Canvases also varied with regards to a particular weave pattern as well as warp and weft count. Then there are the rolls of primed canvas Vincent used during his Dutch period, and again between 1888 - 1890. In this instance, Vincent cut several pieces from the same 5 or 10 m x 2.10 m roll which he then stretched onto strainer bars, made by a carpenter in Nuenen. Hence the non-standard size of some of Vincent's paintings.
Researchers can also pinpoint a timeline from the particular paints Vincent used, for example, Tanguy's paints were of poorer quality than all others, so again paints used from this supplier can determine an approximate time frame.
Having researched the painting for almost two years, it appears to be linked with Van Gogh's friend and pupil Anton Kerssemakers. This would date the painting to between 1882-1885.
There is so much more that researchers can employ to determine authenticity and time frame. The measures above, combined with the information available from his correspondence to Theo, have proven invaluable to group and add or omit works to his oeuvre.
Analytical methods used to identify colorants in art include:
Chromatographic methods, Mass spectrometry, Multispectral imaging, Optical microscopy (PLM), Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive (or WDS) analysis, X-ray fluorescence analysis, Infrared/Raman spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, and more.
I have personally felt that this painting dates to 1884 / 1885, during which time Vincent did not always sign his works. Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen - Unsigned. Avenue of Poplars in Autumn - Vase with Honesty - Still Life with Bottle and Earthenware - Cottages - All unsigned. Many of Vincent's head studies - also unsigned. In fact, so many of Vincent's early paintings were not signed.
This painting does sport a signature in red lower left, but I am unsure as to whether it is of the artist's hand. This of course doesn't necessarily mean the painting itself isn't, as with View of the Sea at Scheveningen which had a fake signature.
It could have also been signed by Anton Kerssemakers, as Vincent had signed his name on a joint painting.
The owner sent pictures to the Van Gogh Museum in 2020. The Van Gogh Museum stated that based on "stylistic features" the painting cannot be attributed to Vincent Van Gogh. This is the same answer they gave to the Keunen family who owns 4 Van Gogh/Kerssemakers paintings and who are indirectly descendants through the marriage of Vincent's friend and student, Anton Kerssemakers.
Anton's daughter, Catharina Joanna Josephina Kerssemakers married Jules Marie Henri Keunen.
The Van Gogh Museum is of course the be-all and end-all with regards to authenticity, and with all due respect, they have been wrong before.
This painting is almost certainly a joint work by Van Gogh and Kerssemakers. The fact that the Van Gogh Museum refuses to even entertain this notion as a worthy investigation, is baffling and disturbing at the same time.
In Vincent's own words, when he is dead and gone, we will know his work regardless of a signature. This, according to an interview Anton gave the Amsterdam magazine 'De Groene' when talking about the unsigned painting Vincent gave his friend before leaving for Antwerp. This painting was Autumn Landscape with Four Trees, F44/JH962.
If the painting in question is authenticated as a Van Gogh, then the owner hopes to gather funds for the major restoration it needs.
Restoration for a painting of this size and in this condition can cost anywhere between $10,000 - $25,000.
And after that?
That's a long way off, but one would love to see the painting put on display for others to enjoy.
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