Couple Didn’t Know They Owned a Vincent Van Gogh

Share via
From United Press International

A still-life painting by Vincent Van Gogh has turned up in the home of a suburban Milwaukee couple who plan to sell it, a Chicago auction house said today.

Leslie Hindman, who owns the auction house, said the painting, “Still Life With Flowers,” was discovered by John Kuhn, a commercial real estate agent and part-time art prospector for Hindman. He recognized the painting as a Van Gogh last July when he saw it hanging on the couple’s wall while he was examining antique furniture in their home.

“It’s unbelievable. That you could find something like this that’s so rare, it’s amazing,” Hindman said.


One of Van Gogh’s paintings, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” sold for a record $82.5 million in a Christie’s auction last May. Hindman said the painting found is a lesser work, but she has set a price estimate of $500,000 to $800,000.

The painting measures 16 1/4 inches by 13 inches and is signed only with a “V” in the lower left corner.

It is an oil-on-canvas still life of flowers in a vase and has been authenticated by experts at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has a large collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings, Hindman said.

The couple said they inherited the painting, believed to have been completed several years before the artist’s suicide in 1890, from a relative who emigrated from Switzerland in the 1940s.

The Milwaukee couple got the painting from Gebhard Adolf Guyer, a wealthy Swiss banker who collected art between 1910 and 1930 but never knew it was a Van Gogh.