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Van Gogh painting missing for 40 years found in tax evader's bank vault
13 May 2014 @ 10:18

TAX authorities discovered a missing original Van Gogh painting during an inspection of the assets of an individual accused of a multi-million-euro fiscal fraud.

Back in October, the tax office - Hacienda - announced the imminent seizure of 542 safe deposit boxes in 270 bank branches, belonging to a total of 551 people and companies, which would lead to the embargo of 319 million euros' worth of goods and funds.

Two months later, a painting thought to be a Van Gogh 'of incalculable value' which disappeared from the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Vienna in the early 1970s was found in one of the bank vaults.

Experts have now studied the picture carefully and confirmed this weekend that it is in fact the 1889 painting Cypress, sky and field, created by the Dutch artist during his so-called 'mad period' when he was a resident at the mental health institute in Saint Rémy de Provence, France.

Vincent Van Gogh's stay in the asylum came just a few months after he cut his left earlobe off in reaction to finding out his love for French artist Paul Gauguin was unrequited, when the latter ran away to Tahiti to live among a harem of native women.

The period in the institution in Saint Rémy saw Van Gogh create numerous landscapes with cypress trees, including the famous Starry, starry night, the subject of the well-known song.

After the tax office found the painting, the person renting the bank vault said it belonged to a 'foreign millionaire' who brought it to Spain in 2010 and that he was 'merely holding it in safe deposit' on that person's behalf.

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com



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