“Street scene in Montmartre,” a rarely seen painting by the iconic Dutch post-Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh, sold for a whopping 16 million euros, approximately, $19.1 million, at an auction recently.
This was a record for the iconic artist in France.
Painted in 1887, the painting auctioned off for double the highest estimate of 8 million euros, or $9.4 million, during a sale at Sotheby’s in Paris.
The painting depicts one of the windmills that sprinkled the streets of Montmartre. It also shows a couple of Parisians walking through a rural and sparse landscape of Montmartre, a historic district in Paris that today is one of the city’s most popular destinations.
It was hardly seen in public after it was owned by a French family and being stashed in their private collection for more than a century.
The identity of the buyer in this auction was not revealed.
“Paintings from the Montmartre series are rare: It’s very likely to garner a lot of interest from private buyers, the major Van Gogh collectors all around the world, and probably from institutions as well,” Aurelie Vandevoorde, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and modern art in Paris, told AFP ahead of the sale.
The Dutch genius was a prolific artist but was undervalued during his lifetime. He attained widespread critical, popular, and commercial success only after his death in 1890, when he committed suicide. Today, his paintings are one of the most expensive sold ever – his portrait of a homeopathic doctor “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” which he painted during the last year of his life, sold at auction in 1990 for $82.5 million, equivalent to $165 million today, making it the most expensive painting ever sold at the time.