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Vincent Van Gogh attribution to be confirmed by hair sample

12 August '12 by the editors

‘Still Life with Peonies’, a painting of a vase of multicoloured peonies resting on a wooden floor, was discovered in a Belgian attic in 1977. Since then debate has raged in the art world whether it is a work made by the Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.

Markus Roubrocks, a Cologne collector who inherited the painting from his father, has always argued the work is an original Van Gogh dating from 1889 just a year before he died. Two independent art experts who examined the painting independently backed his claim, but it is contested by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. They say the brush strokes are inconsistent with Van Gogh's style.

Now, a new way to resolve the dispute may have been found. A three inch long red hair has been lifted from the picture. Its DNA will be compared with those from van Gogh's living relatives. If they match, the painting could fetch up to £39 million ($60.8 million).

According to conservation expert Ester Monnik, who is in charge of the test, the hair's DNA can only have belonged to the creator of the work, whether that person was van Gogh or someone else. “It must have come from the artist because it was so deeply embedded in the painting under layers of paint,” she explained to the Telegraph.

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