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Van Gogh lookalike competition won by Dorset man

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An actor from Dorset has won a global competition to find the "world's most accurate" Vincent Van Gogh lookalike.

Daniel Baker was chosen by renowned Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland out of 1,250 entries from 37 countries.

Mr Baker, 35, wins €5,000 (£4,181) and will have a bronze bust of himself as the Dutch artist and put on display at a Canadian vineyard.

He said he was "utterly overwhelmed" that his "worn face" had been selected.

The I Am Vincent competition was the brainchild of acclaimed post-modern writer Coupland, author of cult novel Generation X.

He said: "Meeting Dan was a very strange experience because I'd spent months looking at Vincent lookalikes on a computer screen.

"Suddenly there was this man - my Vincent van Gogh - hopping out of a taxi looking like he'd just stepped out of the year 1889."

Mr Baker, from Christchurch, said he began to suspect he was the winner when he was invited to Canada to be photographed.

He said: "They made a 3D scan of my head and then announced the prize at a special presentation.

"I was completely and utterly overwhelmed, ecstatic. It was a wonderful experience."

Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 in the Dutch village of Zundert.

He worked as an art dealer and took up painting himself in his 20s but struggled to sell his art.

Van Gogh cut off his own ear in 1888 and died from a gunshot wound in July 1890, in an apparent suicide.

He had produced more than 2,000 artworks including about 850 oil paintings. After his death buyers began to emerge for his work and his reputation grew. In the 20th Century he became regarded as one of the most influential figures in Western art.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam opened in 1973 and his paintings sell for millions of pounds. His work Irises, painted in 1899, became the most expensive painting in the world when it sold for $53.9m in 1987 (£29.5m at the exchange rate of the time).

The Van Gogh bronze will be the first of a series of works titled Redheads, celebrating what Coupland called "the genetic magic" in both redheads and Pinot Noir grapes.

Coupland said both the hair colour and the grape variety made up 2% of their respective sets, reflecting "the way in which all life on earth evolves with time".

The bust, to be unveiled in April, will be installed in the Pinot Noir vineyard at Martin's Lane Winery in British Columbia.


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