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Painting dumped in attic identified as a Van Gogh

Olaf Kraak | AFP | Getty Images

A previously unknown oil painting by Vincent Van Gogh that was dumped in an attic has been found and confirmed by experts as authentic.

The painting, "Sunset at Montmajour," is the first full-size Van Gogh to emerge for 85 years. It had been banished to a Norwegian attic for more than a century because its owner believed it to be a fake.

According to letters from the Dutch master to his brother Theo, the painting was done in 1888, when Van Gogh was living in Arles, in southern France. However, the notoriously self-critical artist wrote that he did not like the painting and that it was "well below what I'd wished to do." As such, he did not put his signature on it.

(Read more: Christie's hired to appraise Detroit's art collection)

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