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For the first time in five years, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has added a new piece to its collection—and it looks a little different from your standard Vincent van Gogh. This one is an 1882 watercolor whose tones are much darker than those the artist later adopted. The painting shows what van Gogh called a "lonely and melancholy" dead willow leaning over a pond near the Hague. The young artist immediately wanted to paint it: "I'm going to attack it tomorrow morning," he wrote to his brother.
"It's a very elaborate, well done watercolor and that's quite extraordinary in this period of Van Gogh's oeuvre," said Marije Vellekoop, the museum's curator of prints and drawings. "Out of the blue, in the summer, in July, he makes a series of watercolors ... with a lot of detail, but also very painterly, fluent." The willow trunk droops over the water and a path wends its way to the horizon, where a windmill stands near a railroad depot.
"What's so special is it is for the first time a rather substantial work that he executes in color," Rueger told The Associated Press. "It comes from a very small group of works he makes at the time and we didn't have anything like that in our collection." For now, it will hang at the Van Gogh Museum. Later this year it and dozens of other paintings will be shifted across the Amstel River to the Hermitage Amsterdam while the Van Gogh Museum closes for several months for renovations.