A rare painting by Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh of a street scene in the Parisian district of Montmartre will be shown to the public for the first time before the auction next month.
Sotheby’s said the work, painted in 1887, has remained in the same family group for more than 100 years – out of sight.
It will be shown next month in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Paris, before the auction scheduled for March 25 in the French capital.
“It is an important painting in Vincent Van Gogh’s work because it goes back to the time he lived in Paris with his brother Theo,” Etienne Hillman, Sotheby’s chief director of impressionist and modern art, told The Associated Press.
Van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886 and lived in Montmartre. He left the capital in 1888, bound for southern France, where he lived until his death in 1890.
“Before that, his paintings were much darker … in Paris he discovers color,” said Hillman. “The color is exploding in the painting.”
Street Scene in Montmartre depicts a windmill named Pepper Mill, seen from the street under a bright sky, with a man, woman and young girl walking past the wooden barriers surrounding the venue.
“Paris represents this period in which … the major Impressionists influenced his work,” Hillman said.
Sotheby’s said the painting was previously published in seven catalogs but was never shown.
“It’s also an important painting because there are very few of it still in private hands … especially from that period, and most of it is in museums now,” said Claudia Mercier, the auctioneer at the Mirabaud Mercier house.
Sotheby’s estimated the value of the painting between 5 and 8 million euros (between 6.1 and 9.8 million dollars). That did not reveal the identity of its owner.
It will be shown in Amsterdam from March 1 to 3, in Hong King from March 9 to 12 and in Paris from March 16-23.
The pepper mill was destroyed while building a street in 1911, but similar windmills still exist today on Montmartre Hill.