You are walking through Paris, the city of romance. Perhaps you will meet the love of your life here. But as we know from the movies, you could just as easily pass each other by. As you enter the shop, the other person leaves via a side door. You continue with your life, completely unaware of what might have happened. Only the shop assistant has seen both of you, almost simultaneously. It could have been the perfect match.
A shop selling artists’ supplies in Montmartre was the setting for a similar encounter in 1887. Vincent van Gogh bought his canvas from the roll there, as did many other leading artists. But we could never find out who it was who came into the shop before him or after him.
Until now, that is: in an extraordinary research project the fabrics of artists’ canvases have been meticulously compared. This has revealed canvases from the same roll and it has emerged that the young artist Émile Bernard worked with exactly the same canvas as Van Gogh during the few months he spent in Paris. The two resulting paintings are now linked together for eternity – the perfect match.