Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Van Gogh Treasure for a Greek Partisan's Daughter

The daughter of a Greek World War II resistance fighter, writer Doretta Peppa has come into an unique inheritance: a sketchbook said to contain early original drawings belonging to Dutch impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).

The portfolio - lost since World War I - is thought to date back to 1880, the year Van Gogh enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art in Brussels.

The as yet unauthenticated notebook has been kept in an Athens bank vault since appropriated by the Greek resistance during Nazi occupation. It was accompanied by a photo of Van Gogh. The confiscation allegedly took place during a raid on a Nazi supply train as the Germans pulled out.

Sketches and drawings contained in the notebook are early studies of masterpieces "The Potato Eaters" (1885) and a version of "Portrait of Père Tanguy" (1887).

Greek law recognizes Mrs Peppa as the owner of the notebook. She said she thinks the rare portfolio might sell for more than $5 million at auction. It's an inheritance from my father and no one asked for it," she told The Telegraph. "It's mine."

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said to get quite a few requests for authentication from people who believe they own a work by Vincent Van Gogh.

- Caption: Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Portrait of Père Tanguy (1887-8) -

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