A couple from Britain have bought a full-length portrait of Vincent Van Gogh for only £1,500 ($3,000). If authenticated, the portrait could be worth millions of dollars.
Michael and Mandy Cruickshank, self professed “amateur collectors," purchased the piece of art listed as "Portrait of a Man" from an online auction. However, the couple believes that the subject of the portrait is none other than post-Impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh.
The portrait itself is speculated to have been painted by a neighbor of Van Gogh's, a female artist who lived next door to him while he lived in Paris. However, the Cruickshank's are sure that the man in the portrait is Van Gogh. The man in the portrait bares a striking resemblance to Van Gogh and the painting is reminiscent of self-sketches by the artist, recognizable by the notable crumpled hat.
Several art historians are backing the couple in believing that the portrait is of Van Gogh. After researching the origins of the portrait for over a year, the Cruickshanks were contacted Louis Van Tilbourgh, curator of the Van Gogh Museum in Paris who agreed to assist in uncovering the identity of the portrait's subject.
The portrait, which is currently on display at the Abbey Walk Gallery in Grimsby, U.K. until September 3 will be examined thereafter, and if it is found to be authentic, it will be worth millions, but essentially is priceless.
“We compared the painting with a well-known self portrait, two other portraits and a photo of Van Gogh from the period. We were hampered slightly because it was a pastel drawing which is less clear, but there is a good case for it being Van Gogh,” lecturer in medical and forensic art Caroline Erolin told the Daily Mail.
A preliminary facial recognition examination by experts at the University of Dundee determined that there is a four out of six chance that the subject of the portrait is in fact Van Gogh.
Before the Cruickshanks purchased the paiting, it was discovered in Versailles and hadn't been seen in public since 1892.