Kentucky chemist discovers hidden faded colors in Van Gogh painting

Vincent van Gogh had written about ‘pink’ flowers and ‘lilac poplar trunks’ in his work, but these were lost in time.

Within a few years they had vanished from the canvas.

So this Professor from Kentucky went on a sort of treasure hunt to find them.

Three hundred and eighty-seven white flowers speckled ‘Undergrowth with Two Figures’, but when Van Gogh completed it in 1890, he never intended that they would all be white.

So Jeff Fieberg of Center College used science to see this painting in a way it hadn’t seen in over a century since Van Gogh.

The incredibly popular “Beyond Van Gogh the Immersive Experience” arrives at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville on July 6. Over the next two months, Louisvillians will have the opportunity to experience 300 of the Impressionists’ famous works of art at a height of 4 trillion resolution pixels.

This is a public, intimate, close-up of digital reproductions of Van Gogh’s masterpieces.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art in Newfields operates a 3,000-square-foot state-of-the-art analytical and research lab for the study of artists' materials.  Here, Greg Smith, a 1995 graduate of Center College and the lab's senior conservation scientist, poses with Jeff Fieberg holding Vincient Van Gogh's painting. "Undergrowth with two figures."

And while Fieberg has nothing to do with the event itself, before the show I wanted to talk to someone who had been up close and intimate with a real Van Gogh.

That’s how I ended up in a video conversation with Fieberg, a chemistry professor who teaches subjects that are crossed in art history. He spent an afternoon explaining to me in great detail how he followed the molecules in pigments to see Van Gogh’s art as it was when his brush first touched the canvas.

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