The oil painting “A Haystack in the Evening Sun” owned by the Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation based in Finland has recently been confirmed to be a genuine work of the reputed Impressionist Claude Monet. Thanks to the evolution of technology, researchers were able to discover the signature of the French artist under paint on the artwork. Even more so, the signature also contained the year in which the artwork was created: 1891.
Specialists from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland used a hyperspectral camera to measure X-ray fluorescence in order to study the elemental composition of the work in depth. One of the researchers who conducted the study is Ilkka Pölönen, who explained that “The camera is principally operating as a scanner, which scans one line at a time. When the camera is moved using the scanner, an image of the whole picture can be obtained.” The camera thus allowed the researchers to search under the initial layer of paint and uncover the data that makes the work authentic. Furthermore, the painting was also authenticated as a result of a pigment and canvas fiber analysis.
The reason why the painting had not been officially confirmed until now is that the paint covering the signature did not allow proof for authenticity. Moreover, “A Haystack in the Evening Sun” is one of Monet’s works that is highly unknown to the general and even specialized audience.
The Fine Arts Foundation had purchased the work of art around the 1950s from an art broker based in London. According to the foundation, this confirmation of authenticity proves that the painting is the first work of art by Monet to be presented in a public collection on the territory of Finland.
Oscar-Claude Monet lived between 1840 and 1926 and was a founder father of French Impressionist painting. He was one of the most active artists in this movement, being the first to create a work of art that resulted in the term “Impressionism”. The painting in cause – Impression, soleil levant – was exhibited in the first independent exhibition organized by the artist together with his associates in the year 1874. He is widely admired as being one of the greatest painters in the history of French art.
Photo credits: Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation