$60 painting could be worth millions

One Aussie may have unknowingly purchased an original Van Gogh artwork for just $60, after spotting it at a market in Victoria.

The anonymous Victorian recently bought a painting of a windmill at a market in Geelong. Now art historian Andrew Mackenzie believes it could be an original work by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.

The artwork is now being kept under lock and key in Melbourne after Mr Mackenzie noticed a striking resemblance between the work and similar paintings produced by the famous artist.

The famous Montmartre windmills that overlooked Paris were a popular subject among post-impressionist painters, and Van Gogh, who died in 1890, frequently painted the famous scene.

The painting found in Victoria bears a striking similarity to Van Gogh’s other works.

Mr Mackenzie told Nine News the “jury is still out” on whether the artwork was painted by the Dutch master.

“I have been researching this work now for two years and I am still not sure myself,” he said.

Mr Mackenzie believes the painting could have been brought to the country by Australian artist John Peter Russell, who was a friend of Van Gogh’s and was reportedly gifted some of his works.

“Van Gogh said: ‘Choose a couple from my studio before you go back to Australia,’” Mr Mackenzie said.

“So it could well be that this is one of those.”

The artwork has reportedly already been shown to the National Gallery of Victoria and Monash University, where it underwent “macro photography analysis”.

The historian said this process showed how the artwork was “built up underneath”, which he said is “very much” in the style of Van Gogh.

“If it is proved to be a Van Gogh, it will be probably one of the most valuable works in Australia,” he said.

In 2013, a long-lost Van Gogh painting was discovered in a Norwegian attic, where it was kept for years because it was thought not to be authentic.

It was the first full-size canvas by the artist to be discovered since 1928.

The painting, titled Sunset At Montmajour, depicts a dry landscape of oak trees, bushes and sky, painted with Van Gogh’s familiar thick brushstrokes.

It can be dated to the exact day it was painted because Vincent described it in a letter to his brother, Theo, and said he painted it the previous day – July 4, 1888.

Experts at the Van Gogh Museum said the painting was authenticated by Van Gogh’s letters, the style and the physical materials used, and they had traced its history.

Museum director Axel Rueger described the discovery as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” at an unveiling ceremony.

“This is a great painting from what many see as the high point of his artistic achievement, his period in Arles, in southern France,” he said.

Currently, Sydney is host to the Van Gogh Alive event being held at Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park. It is an immersive exhibition celebrating the work of the famous artist.

VIC | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site