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These two paintings, both called “Sunflowers,” are generally accepted as the finest of several of the thick-stemmed, nodding blooms that Van Gogh made in 1888 and 1889 during his time in Arles. The first is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London, and the second is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Van Gogh referred to this work as a of the London painting. But art historians and curators have long been to know how different this “repetition” is from the first. Should it be considered a copy, an independent artwork, or something in between? An research project conducted over the past three years by conservation experts at both the National Gallery and the Van Gogh Museum has concluded that the second painting was “not intended as an exact copy of the example,” said Ella Hendriks, a professor of conservation and restoration at the University of Amsterdam, who was the lead researcher on the project.

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