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On sale: Van Gogh's final masterpiece

October 09, 2007 13:37 IST

Art collectors, this is perhaps your last opportunity to acquire The Fields of Vincent Van Gogh. Yes, the masterpiece, believed to be the Dutch artist's last painting before his suicide, is on show in London.

Though touched by tragedy, it was painted on July 10, 1890, 19 days before Van Gogh died at the age of 37. However, The Fields conveys little hint of the depression that would drive the artist to shoot himself in the chest.

"Here is an artist literally on the verge of taking his life and filled with tremendous despondency, yet he is still painting with lemon yellows, azure blues and emerald greens.

"We know this is a man barely holding on to his will to live, yet he is able to separate his energy and focus on what he sees before him," David Norman, the Executive Vice-President at Sotheby's, told the Daily Telegraph.

In fact, this picture is one of the last Van Goghs in private hands. It belongs to a celebrated series painted early that July, in which the sprawling golden wheat field at

Auvers-sur-Oise, north-west of Paris, became the central subject that captured the artist's imagination.

The Fields, which hung in his room as he bled to death in his bed where he had staggered after turning to the revolver, will be auctioned in New York next month, where it is expected to fetch 17 million pounds.

"As a unique work of art from the final days of the artist's life, the price will be driven by passion," the Sotheby's spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Van Gogh had no formal training as an artist and did not embark on a career as a painter until 1880. Most of his best-known works were produced in the final two years of his life, during which time he cut off part of his left ear after a breakdown in his friendship with a fellow artist.

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