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An oil painting thought to have been created by French Impressionist Claude Monet has been proven to be genuine through scientific testing.

"A Haystack in the Evening Sun" had not previously been authenticated because the work is largely unknown and the artist's signature is covered by paint.

However researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland uncovered the signature using a hyperspectral camera.

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In 2010, the UK’s National Trust was given five paintings from the estate of the late Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross, the widow of Harold, Lord Samuel of Wych Cross, a property developer, philanthropist, and prominent art collector. Among the bequest was a portrait of an ornately dressed man believed to be a relatively unremarkable 17th century painting. Although the work bears a signature and date reading “Rembrandt 1635,” experts believed it to be a later copy or the work of one of the Dutch master’s pupils.

The painting, which spent nearly two years in storage, has just been identified as an authentic Rembrandt (1606-1669) self-portrait worth over $30 million. The painting hadn’t been examined since 1968 and recent X-ray analysis along with newly found circumstantial evidence from the Rembrandt Research Project indicates that the work is in fact genuine.

The self-portrait is the only Rembrandt in the National Trust’s collection of 13,500 paintings and will remain on view at Buckland Abbey through the end of tourist season. Once it is taken off view the painting will be undergo a thorough cleaning and further technical analysis. Experts will perform dendrochronology to date the beech panel the work is painted on, the paint will be analyzed, and the painting will be x-rayed again to check for under-drawings.

David Taylor, the National Trust’s curator of paintings and sculpture, expects to have a final confirmation on the painting by early next year.       

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Thursday, 21 February 2013 13:22

Francis Bacon Paintings Discovered

Six paintings by Francis Bacon (1902-1992) have been discovered on the backsides of amateur works by Lewis Todd (1925-2006), a former caricaturist for the Cambridge Daily News. Bacon preferred to paint on the unprimed backs of canvases because of their raw quality. While the Heffer Gallery of Cambridge supplied art materials to both Bacon and Todd, it is unclear how the canvases found their way to the gallery. Heffer often provided Todd with rejected canvases, which he cut up and used for his own impressionist compositions.

The six paintings appear to be part of Bacon’s “Pope” paintings, which he executed during the 1950s. The series depicts freeze-frames of eerie religious figures and includes some of Bacon’s best-known works. The Francis Bacon Authentication Committee has confirmed that five of the six works are genuine after paint sample tests revealed that the paint is the same paint Bacon used during the 1950s and 1960s.

The newly discover Bacon paintings will be sold at Ewbanks Auctions in southern England on March 20, 2013. A strong force in the art market, a previous sale of Bacon’s garbage, journals, and discarded artworks garnered nearly $1.5 million at Ewbanks in 2007. The auction house has a set a pre-sale estimate of $152,570 for the newly discovered paintings, but wouldn't be surprised if they fetched closer to $300,000.       

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