Rare Vincent van Gogh Painting Gets First Public Showing

You might think that the work of certain famous artists is never far off the walls of a museum or gallery. But that’s not always the case. A 2015 report by the BBC found that numerous paintings in the museums’ permanent collections, including works by Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, are kept out of the public eye.

This does not only apply to artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. A new article in Smithsonian Magazine tells the story of Vincent van Gogh’s Scène de rue à Montmartre (Impasse des Deux Frères and Le Moulin à Poivre), which has been in a family’s private collection for a century.

The painting is now to be auctioned through Sotheby’s and Mirabaud Mercier. Sotheby’s estimates that van Gogh’s work will sell for 5 to 8 million euros (or 6 to 9.7 million US dollars).

The auction will take place on March 25th. Before that, however, the painting will be exhibited in Paris, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. It comes from Van Gogh’s time in Paris; The windmill was part of a nightclub, and the area inspired him to create some of his famous paintings.

Depending on who buys the Scène de rue à Montmartre – which translates as “street scene in Montmartre” – the painting could find a home in an institution where it can be seen from afar, or it could end up in private hands and not to be seen in public again for another century.

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