Chef spots something strange about canvas 'Red Cabbages and Onions'

Vegetable still life by Van Gogh renamed as the onions weren’t onions

The Van Gogh Museum has renamed a painting by the Dutch artist after realizing that its title referred to the wrong kind of allium. The painting Red Cabbages and Onions, it turns out, should have been called Red Cabbages and Garlic.

It took an eagle-eyed chef named Ernst de Witte to realize that Vincent van Gogh had actually painted two heads of garlic in the 1887 still life. Red Cabbages and Garlic, as it is now known, has been prominently displayed for decades, including a loan to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 1931 to 1973. The work appears to have been exhibited under the inaccurate title since 1928.

De Witte, armed with nearly 20 years of professional cooking experience, has also been painting for four years. That is why he felt confident enough to go to the museum with his conviction. When he reached out about the possible error, the institution asked for evidence supporting his claim.

“I made a PowerPoint together with my wife that showed how Van Gogh painted the garlic with his line work and compared it with another painting in which he painted onions,” De Witte told Artnet News in an email. “And I made a video in which I compared different garlic varieties and onions. I made an overlay drawing on the garlic bulbs in the Van Gogh painting to show that the lines he made actually show the cloves of the garlic.”


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