WINDFALLS: Signed With a V

WINDFALLS: Signed With a V

For three decades, the somber-hued oil painting of flowers in a vase hung uncelebrated in the living room of a suburban Milwaukee couple. But last summer, as husband and wife cleared away a lifetime of domestic clutter, they called in an auctioneer's agent. His discovery, disclosed last week: the seemingly undistinguished still life was something any avid art collector would give his left ear to own -- a genuine Vincent van Gogh.

The painting, signed with a solitary V, is apparently a work that Van Gogh painted in Paris in 1886. By 1930 it belonged to a Swiss banker, and it...

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