Rare van Gogh fetches millions at Dutch art fair

Vincent van Gogh's Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Headdress sells for several million euros at Tefaf art fair

Vincent van Gogh's Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Headdress is hung at TEFAF in Maastricht. EPA
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A rare early painting by Vincent van Gogh, known as Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Headdress (Tete de paysanne à la coiffe blanch), has been sold for several million euros at an art fair in the Netherlands.

The sale took place at the annual European Art Fair (Tefaf) in Maastricht, where the painting was listed with an asking price of €4.5 million ($4.9 million).

Bill Rau, president of MS Rau Gallery, confirmed the sale to a museum. He said “It has been sold to a museum outside the European Union.

“We cannot discuss the price,” he said reflecting the gallery's commitment to privacy and discretion in such high-profile transactions.

The painting, which dates back to around 1884, represents a pivotal moment in van Gogh's career when he lived in Nuenen, a year before he completed The Potato Eaters.

The acquisition by a private museum, which will ensure public access to the artwork, highlights the continued appeal and value of historical pieces in the art world.

The Dutch national news agency ANP said: “Although the name of the private museum was not given, 'it will be accessible to the public',” ensuring that this masterpiece will be enjoyed by future generations.

Tefaf, known for its eclectic collection ranging from Old Masters to modern furniture, has once again demonstrated the art market's resilience.

Hidde van Seggelen, Tefaf's executive board chairman, highlighted the fair's wide-ranging appeal. He said: “What is special about Tefaf is that we cover almost 7,000 years of art history, 7,000 years of human creation. Whether these are living or dead, artists or artisans.”

The Rijksmuseum's acquisition of a painting by Gesina ter Borch at the fair further exemplifies the significant interest and investment in historical art by both private and institutional collectors.

The fair not only showcases a wide range of art but also implements strict vetting procedures to ensure the authenticity and provenance of the works, offering certainty to buyers in a fluctuating global market.

The art market's strength is evident in the high-profile sales and the wide array of artworks attracting interest from around the world.

The successful sale of van Gogh's work at Tefaf Maastricht serves as a testament to the enduring value and appeal of art as both an asset and a source of inspiration, transcending the immediate challenges of the times.

Updated: March 10, 2024, 5:43 PM