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Early Van Gogh landscape sells for €7m at French auction

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An early landscape painting by Vincent Van Gogh has sold for €7m (£6.2m; $8.3m) at an auction in Paris.

Painted in 1882, Fishing Net Menders in the Dunes depicts peasant women working on the land, inspired by countryside around The Hague in the Netherlands.

It was bought by an American collector after a bidding war that pushed the price above its estimate of €3m-€5m.

The painting is the first Van Gogh to be auctioned in France for more than 20 years.

"It's fetched such a high price [compared to the estimate] because there are hardly any Van Goghs on the market," said the auctioneer, Francis Briest.

"You can only find them in private collections or museums, and therefore buyers are prepared to pay over the odds for a work of this quality and importance."

Van Gogh painted the work when he was 29 years old, during a formative period spent living near The Hague.

"We already find all the characteristics of a Vincent painting, especially his treatment of landscape," said Bruno Jaubert, associate director of modern art at auction house Artcurial.

The painting was the only landscape work Van Gogh produced at the time, Mr Jaubert said.

The last sale at a Paris auction of a Van Gogh painting was The Garden at Auvers, sold in the mid-1990s for $10m.

Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr Gachet fetched what was then the highest ever price for a painting when sold at auction in May 1990 for $82.5m.

More recently his work Still Life, Vase with Daisies, and Poppies fetched $61.8m in 2014, beating its $50m estimate

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