September 9, 2013 - 17:23 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A previously unknown landscape painting by Vincent Van Gogh has been identified by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, according to BBC News.
Sunset at Montmajour - which depicts trees, bushes and sky - had spent years in a Norwegian private collector's attic after he had been told the work was not by the Dutch master.
The museum said the painting was authenticated by letters, style and the physical materials used. It is the first full-size canvas by Van Gogh discovered since 1928.
Museum director Axel Rueger called the discovery a "once-in-a-lifetime experience'' at an unveiling ceremony. He said the institution had previously rejected the painting's authenticity in the 1990s partly because it was not signed.
However thanks to new research techniques and a two-year investigation, it concluded the artwork was by the artist.
The museum said the painting now belongs to an unidentified private collector and will be on display at the museum from Sept 24, the AP says.
Researcher Teio Meedendorp said he and other researchers "found answers to all the key questions, which is remarkable for a painting that has been lost for more than 100 years".
The piece can be dated to the exact day it was painted because the artist described it in a letter to his brother, Theo, saying he had painted it the previous day - on 4 July 1888.
He added he painted it "on a stony heath where small twisted oaks grow".
The details in the letter had previously been attributed to another of Van Gogh's works - entitled The Rocks - despite that work missing some of the elements he describes.
But researchers have now identified the location Sunset at Montmajour depicts as being near Montmajour hill, near Arles in France, where the artist was living at the time.
Vincent Van Gogh struggled with bouts of mental distress throughout his life, and died of a self-inflicted gun wound in 1890. He sold only one painting while he was alive, though his work was just beginning to win acclaim. The Van Gogh Museum, which houses 140 of the Dutch master's works, receives more than a million visitors annually, and Van Gogh paintings are among the most valuable in the world.