Bed in Van Gogh’s painting may still be around

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | ART - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in The Hague, Nether­lands

A bed first made fa­mous by Vin­cent van Gogh’s 1888 painting The Bed­room may to­day still be lurk­ing in ahome or at­tic in a small Dutch town, an art his­to­rian claimed on Sun­day.

Bri­tain-based Van Gogh ex­pert Martin Bai­ley says the bed on which Van Gogh slept while liv­ing in the scenic south­ern French city of Ar­les may have ended up in a home in Boxmeer in theNether­lands af­terWorldWar II.

Bai­ley based his be­lief on his dis­cov­ery of a let­ter writ­ten in 1937 by Van Gogh’s cousin, Vin­cent Willem, in which he said he still pos­sessed the bed of his fa­mous un­cle, who com­mit­ted sui­cide in 1890.

“This was a key let­ter that showed that the bed had sur­vived and had been taken to the Nether­lands,” Bai­ley tells Dutch public broad­cast­erNOS.

“This was a real sur­prise for me. That was (also) not known to Van Gogh scholars,” says Bai­ley, who started off on an in­trigu­ing search to trace his­toric pieces of fur­ni­ture.

Bai­ley con­tacted Jo­han van Gogh, the el­derly son of Van Gogh’s cousin “and he ac­tu­ally, to my as­ton­ish­ment re­mem­bered the bed”.

Jo­han vanGogh, 94, says the bed stood in his fa­ther’s house in Laren un­til 1945, when it was sent to Boxmeer, around 120 kilo­me­ters to the south, as part of a do­na­tion to help the Dutch who lost their pos­ses­sions dur­ing the war.

Aided by a col­league, Bai­ley then found a pic­ture of the ac­tual truck used to cart the do­nated fur­ni­ture from Laren to Boxmeer.

“That was the last bit of the puz­zle. There is no ques­tion that the bed ended up in Boxmeer,” Bai­ley says.

“Of course, the in­trigu­ing ques­tion is: Where is it now?” he says, ad­mit­ting that the bed may have in­ad­ver­tently been thrown away over the years.

Van Gogh painted three ver­sions of The Bed­room.

The 1888 ver­sion hangs in Am­s­ter­dam’s Van GoghMu­seum, while two later ver­sions painted in 1889, are on dis­play at the Art In­sti­tute of Chicago and Paris’Musee d’Or­say.

The Van Gogh Mu­seum in re­sponse to Bai­ley’s claims told the NOS on Sun­day that it “would be in­ter­est­ing if the bed is ac­tu­ally found”.

“We’ll closely fol­low the in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” the mu­seum said.

JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY

A young vis­i­tor walks among sculp­tures by An­thony Stones at the show BetweenChi­naandWest at the Na­tional Art Mu­seum of China in Bei­jing.

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