The work of the Dutch master Otto Van Veen was forgotten almost for a century.
Let this be another reason to clean out your closets and pantries. The forgotten picture of the Dutch master of the XVI century Otto Van Veen was in a museum cabinet in Des Moines, Iowa State. The canvas was left there about a hundred years ago.
On the holidays’ eve, director of the Hoyt Sherman Place art complex Robert Warren was looking for flags of the Civil War in a small cupboard under the balcony of the auditorium. Instead, he found something much more valuable both materially and culturally. It was a painting priced $4 million, stuck between the table and the back wall.
The work depicts the Greek gods Apollo and Venus, as well as the cherub (possibly the son of Venus Amur). After the examination, the scientists identified the work as "Apollo and Venus" by Van Veen (ca. 1595-1600).
"I did not even imagine that this work has such value. I thought, if the picture really belonged to the hand of the master, it would hardly be left in a dusty closet," Warren told reporters.
The man was attracted by a small sticker on the back of the canvas. It was the sticker who prompted Warren to continue the investigation. The icon that looked like the auction house, in fact, was a label from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where the picture was previously shown. After the research, Warren discovered that the work was rented to the collector Nason Collins, who later moved to Des Moines and took work with him. In 1923, Collins's granddaughter donated a picture to the local women's club, which was in Hoyt Sherman.
Warren suggested that the work was hidden due to significant damage on the surface of the canvas.
After a year of extensive restoration and reframing, the masterpiece finally returned to Des Moines, where it was presented at a private ceremony. Warren said that the picture will not be sold, and that "Hoyt Sherman Place" plans to exhibit Van Veen's work in a permanent exhibition in his gallery. But first the museum should modernize its security infrastructure, because the possession of a multi-million picture also has various nuances. However, this painting will attract many visitors, as recently experts noted the increased interest in the works of Otto Van Veen.