A 125-Year-Old Van Gogh Painting Was Just Found In A Bank Safe After Being Lost for 40 Years

This past weekend, agents from Agencia Tributaria (the Spanish IRS) searched the safe deposit box of a man under investigation for fraud charges. The agents were not ready for what they found inside the box: a classic masterwork by one of history’s most famous artists.

“Cypress, sky and field” was painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1889, just a year before he would commit suicide as a penniless man suffering from serious mental illness.

The painting was taken by the Nazis during their occupation of the Netherlands in the 1940s and was last seen on display at Kunsthistorisches Institut der Universität Wien (the University of Vienna’s art institute) in the mid-70s.

“Cypress, sky and field”, confiscated by Spanish authorities (click to enlarge)

The owner of the safe deposit box, who was with the agents when they went through it, claimed that he was just storing the painting for an unidentified Spanish multi-millionaire who had brought it to the country in 2010. Spanish officials are still investigating.

The painting is similar to other landscapes Van Gogh did of the French countryside, which often included its cypress trees and wheat fields:

"Wheat field with cypresses"- 1889 (click to enlarge)
“Wheat field with cypresses”- 1889 (click to enlarge)
"Wheat field"- June 1888
“Wheat field”- June 1888 (click to enlarge)
"Green wheat field with cypress"- 1889 (click to enlarge)
“Green wheat field with cypress”- 1889 (click to enlarge)
"Wheat field with poppies and lark"- Summer 1887
“Wheat field with poppies and lark”- Summer 1887 (click to enlarge)
"Landscape with wheat sheaves and rising moon"- July 1889 (click to enlarge)
“Landscape with wheat sheaves and rising moon”- July 1889 (click to enlarge)

Read more from Gizmodo and CBC News.

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