A picture of the painting, uncovered in the archives of a Japanese museum, suggest that the famed post-impressionist painter wanted it to be exhibited in an orange frame.
"He saw this orange frame as an integral piece of the artwork," Van Gogh specialist Martin Bailey said.
The painting shows the flowers in a vase against a dark blue background, 'BBC News' reported.
It was sold to a Japanese collector and shipped to Japan in 1920 where it was destroyed in a fire during the war.
Bailey discovered the photograph while researching his book on Van Gogh.
"I went back to Van Gogh's letters and he described when he was painting the sunflowers how he was going to put them in an orange frame. That has never been seen before," he said.
"Van Gogh loved complementary colours, like blue and orange together. He was really creating a total work of art, framing his picture," Bailey said.
"It was a revolutionary idea at the time, framing a painting in orange. Conventionally, paintings were framed in gilt frames, and modern paintings were sometimes framed in plain white frames," he said.