The Kröller-Müller Museum acquired this flower still life by Vincent van Gogh in 1974. From the start there were doubts as to whether it was really by Van Gogh: the size was unusual, the flowers were considered too excessive and the style of painting was deemed inconsistent with Van Gogh’s development.
X-ray studies revealed these 2 wrestlers painted under the flower still life. In January 1886, Vincent wrote to his brother Theo: ‘This week I painted a large thing with two nude torsos – two wrestlers [...] And I really like doing that’. Was he talking about the wrestlers under the flower still life? That too was uncertain.
n 2012, with a new research technique and a team of experts from TU Delft, Antwerp University, Deutsches Elektronen- Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum, it was determined that the underlying painting is indeed by Van Gogh. He painted the flower still life over it later.
The new insights are presented in the article Rehabilitation of a flower still life in the Kröller-Müller Museum and a lost Antwerp painting by Van Gogh (2012), a prepublication of Van Gogh Studies part 4. The flower still life itself has now been given a prominent place among other works by Vincent van Gogh in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum.
A folder was published to accompany the presentation of the work in 2012. To the folder