Family claims back 'Van Gogh notebook'
A Greek family has claimed ownership of a notebook they believe to contain early sketches by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh missing since the First World War.
Among the host of images contained within its pages are detailed drawings of figures in the masterpieces The Potato Eaters (1885) and Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887).
The notebook has been kept in an Athens bank vault
since the Greek resistance seized it, along with a framed photograph of
Van Gogh, during a raid on a Nazi supply train as the Germans pulled
out of the country at the end of the war.
Peppa, the current owner and daughter of one of the resistance
fighters, conceded it was likely the book was plundered by the Nazis
but added that no claim of original ownership had surfaced.
notebook - which has yet to be authenticated - apparently dates from
the year Van Gogh was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art in Brussels
in 1880, a period that represented the post-impressionist master's only
Mrs Peppa, a writer, is now
recognised under Greek law as the owner of the book, which she believes
could fetch as much as £2.5 million at auction.
"It's an inheritance from my father and no one asked for it," she said. "It's mine."
Bosboom, a spokesman for the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, said
its experts had been made aware of the sketchbook but no verdict on its
authenticity had been made available.
She said: "We get quite a few requests for authentication from people who believe they have something by Vincent Van Gogh."