Rare Van Gogh drawings, ‘forgotten’ Flincks go on display

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Dutch businessman John Fentener van Vlissingen (L) and director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam Axel Ruger (R) look at a recently discovered drawing dated from 1886 by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh entitled "Montmartre Hill with Quarry" (De heuvel van Montmartre met steengroeve) in the Singer Museum in Laren, Netherlands, on January 16, 2018. (AFP)
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This image released by the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation on Tuesday Jan. 16, 2018 shows a drawing titled The Hill of Montmartre (1886). The drawing is housed at the Van Gogh Museum and shares an unmistakable connection to the newly-discovered van Gogh drawing in terms of subject, size, style, technique and materials. (Vincent Van Gogh Foundation via AP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Rare Van Gogh drawings, ‘forgotten’ Flincks go on display

THE HAGUE: Art lovers are in for a rare treat as four forgotten works by Dutch masters Vincent van Gogh and 17th-century painter Govert Flinck have gone on display, after gathering dust for more than 100 years.
The works include a never-before-seen Van Gogh drawing, which had been in private hands until now.
Called “The Hill of Montmartre with Quarries,” Van Gogh’s monochrome artwork dates from 1886 when he was living in Antwerp and Paris, where he worked at the studio of leading French historical painter Fernand Cormon.
The sketch, together with a second drawing “The Hill of Montmartre,” were unveiled Tuesday at an exhibition at the Singer Laren museum in central Netherlands.
“Such a discovery is always great. It’s really exceptional and does not often happen,” Teio Meedendorp, senior researcher for the Amsterdam-based Van Gogh Museum, told AFP.
Meanwhile, two previously forgotten works by Rembrandt’s student Govert Flinck (1615-1660) were also revealed to the public at the Amsterdam Museum for the first time on Tuesday since disappearing around 1895.
The two portraits were only unearthed after their owner visited an exhibition of Flinck’s work at the Amsterdam Museum.
Researcher Meedendorp said the Van Goghs had undergone an extensive verification process.
For many years “Montmartre with Quarries” sat unnoticed in a private collection until it was brought to the Van Gogh Museum in 2013 for authentication, he explained.
“After it came in we verified that it was indeed a Van Gogh — but we were intrigued by the question of its origins.”
The Van Gogh Museum’s art sleuths discovered the sketch originally belonged to Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, the wife of Vincent’s brother Theo.
It had been sold into a private collection in 1917.
“We authenticated it in 2013, but it took a bit longer because it’s up to the owner and not us to reveal the work,” he added, saying “we had to keep it under wraps for a few years.”
The sketch also gave the museum an opportunity to authenticate a second work in its possession, called “The Hill at Montmartre.”
The type of stationery used in both sketches is identical and “nicely illustrates how he (Vincent) was still searching for his own style in the winter and spring of 1886,” the Singer Laren museum said in a statement.
“It was a very nice investigation about a work that appeared out of nowhere. It was never published, never put on display,” Meedendorp added.

Meanwhile, the Flincks were uncovered after the anonymous owner contacted the museum to offer the portraits for its current exhibition of the 17th-century master, who studied under Rembrandt but later developed his own style.
“The paintings were hung on their owner’s living room walls when he contacted the Amsterdam Museum and asked if they’d be interested in seeing them,” Dutch newspaper Trouw said.
Believed to be portraits of Zeeland province representative Johan de Mauregenault and his wife Petronella van Panhuysm, they were last described in an 1895 auction catalogue.
“Since then the paintings disappeared into thin air until now,” the paper added.


Startup of the Week: Creatively promoting anime culture in Saudi Arabia

Updated 19 February 2019
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Startup of the Week: Creatively promoting anime culture in Saudi Arabia

  • 40 percent of Saudi youths are fans of Japanese anime, according to Ahmad Hawssah, founder and project manager of Kio Market

Most people in Saudi Arabia have watched Japanese anime on TV during their childhood. Japanese anime series dubbed in Arabic used to be widely aired on Arabic channels for children. Those series became an important part in the lives of young Saudis especially millennials.
With the increasing growth of the internet in Saudi Arabia in the 2000s, Saudis began to learn more about the anime culture, Japanese culture, and language. The created their own communities for anime fans, translated and spread the culture in society mainly relying on illegal streaming sites.
40 percent of Saudi youths are fans of Japanese anime, according to Ahmad Hawssah, founder and project manager of Kio Market.
An average Saudi individual has definitely watched dozens of Japanese anime during childhood. The most popular series include Detective Conan, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Hunter X Hunter and Captain Tsubasa, etc.
Ahmad with his otaku friends, (a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests in anime) founded Koi Market because they were frustrated with the poor presentation of anime culture in Saudi Arabia.
Hawssah said that he and his friends attended an event that showcased anime culture in 2013. “That experience was very disappointing to us and we decided that we should do something about it,” he added.
Koi Market (@koi_market), which stands for “Kingdom of Imagination” was established in 2015. It is an anime online store based in Jeddah that sells anime-themed accessories and gifts online such as posters, mugs, T-shirts, stickers, notes and pins.
“There are many things that distinguish us from other Saudi businesses focusing on anime,” Hawssah said.
“Ninety percent of our products are made by Saudis in Saudi Arabia, we make everything by ourselves. We collaborate with local artists with real talent to draw for us,” he added.
“We found that what’s available in the local market by other competitors is very expensive and is not worth the price. Most of those businesses import goods from Japan and sell it at high prices, we wanted to fix that problem.”
“Our business is about investing in local talents, and offering products with very good quality and at reasonable prices, because we believe anime is for everyone; we do not want anyone to wish to own something that he or she likes but feel they cannot afford,” Hawssah said.
The other 10 percent of Koi market products are imported stuff from Japan such as the 3D anime models and cosplay outfits.
Hawssah with his team of five aspires to have a strong presence in the industry to sell original Japanese products, and to introduce new Arab characters to the market.
“There are so many Saudi and Arab animators and artists in the region, we want to support and market their work with our products,” he said.
Hawssah believes that the Middle East is very rich in history and culture that can be a real substance for great projects.
“We can produce amazing things by creating characters that highlight our Arab identity and culture; it will be interesting for the whole world.”
He said it is obvious that most people around the world have a good idea of American, Japanese, and Chinese cultures, but their assumptions about the Arab region and culture are flawed.
He wants to change the situation and believes the youth can play an effective role in this regard by using their creativity to highlight the true culture and identity of the region.
Koi Market products can be found on (https://salla.sa/koi_market), they ship to anywhere in Saudi Arabia. They can also be followed on Instagram (@anime_legion7).