Number of Vincent Van Gogh Photographs Cut in Half

Image long believed to show famous artist is actually his brother
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2018 6:29 AM CST
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This handout made available by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, shows an image of 15-year-old Theo van Gogh. The photo was originally thought to be of brother Vincent van Gogh.   (Van Gogh Museum via AP)

(Newser) – The number of verified photos of painter Vincent van Gogh just got cut in half. New research suggests that a photo of a boy heretofore believed to show Vincent at age 13 actually portrays his brother, the then-15-year-old Theo van Gogh, the Telegraph reports. That leaves just one photo of "the camera-shy" artist known to exist; it shows Vincent at age 19. Both photos are in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands. The photo that is now presumed to show a young Theo was made public in 1957 and has been used in van Gogh biographies ever since.

Doubts began to surface in 2014, and the Telegraph reports on the mounting evidence that followed, including letters of Theo's that recounted him having his photo taken in February 1873. The museum decided to settle the issue by way of a forensic examination of the photo and all other known photos of the brothers. "This discovery means that we have rid ourselves of an illusion while gaining a portrait of Theo," museum director Axel Rueger tells the AP. "We have essentially returned to the situation as it always was up to the mistaken identification in 1957, with a single photographic portrait of the young, 19-year-old Vincent van Gogh." (There's a dead body hiding in a van Gogh painting.)

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