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Vincent Van Gogh

(1853 -  1890 ) Wikipedia® : Vincent Van Gogh
GOGH van Vincent Landscape With Windswept Trees

Sotheby's /Nov 6, 2015
148,356.95 - 222,535.42
616,735.00

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Van Gogh Vincent

 

Artworks in Arcadja
441

Some works of Vincent Van Gogh

Extracted between 441 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Vincent Van Gogh - Man With An Axe On His Shoulder

Vincent Van Gogh - Man With An Axe On His Shoulder

Original
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Lot number: 18
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Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890 MAN WITH AN AXE ON HIS SHOULDER signed Vincent (lower right) lithographic crayon, watercolour and pencil on paper 46 by 23.4cm. 18 1/8 by 9 1/4 in. Executed in The Hague between October and December 1882. Saleroom Notice Authentication The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.Provenance (probably) Jacques Hageraats, The Hague L.C. Enthoven, Voorburg (probably acquired from the above in the 1900s. Sold: Fred Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 18th May 1920, lot 252) M.S. de Jong, Amsterdam (purchased at the above sale) A.P. de Jong, Johannesburg (by descent from the above) E. Rogoff, Johannesburg (sold: Sotheby's, Johannesburg, 10th May 1984, lot 78) Purchased at the above sale by the parents of the present owners Exhibited Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, L'Impressionismo a l'età di Van Gogh , 2003, no. 128, illustrated in the catalogueLiterature Jacob Baart de la Faille, L'Œuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue raisonné , Paris & Brussels, 1928, vol. III, no. 987, catalogued p. 39; vol. IV, no. 987, illustrated pl. XLI Walther Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche periode in het werk van Vincent van Gogh , Amsterdam, 1937, pp. 91, 170, 192 & 409 Jacob Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings , London, 1970, no. F987, illustrated p. 367 Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches , New York, 1980, no. 303, illustrated p. 75 (as dating from December 1882 - January 1883) Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches , New York, 1984, no. 303, illustrated p. 75 (as dating from December 1882 - January 1883) Jacob Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works on Paper. Catalogue Raisonné , San Francisco, 1992, vol. I, no. 987, catalogued p. 39; vol. II, no. 987, illustrated pl. XLI Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches , Amsterdam, 1996, no. 303, illustrated p. 75 (as dating from 1883) Executed in 1882, the present work is a wonderfully evocative drawing of an elderly miner walking through the streets at night - whether setting out to work before sunrise or returning home in the dark we cannot know. The figure trudges towards the viewer as if frozen in time, his pick axe resting heavily on his shoulder, lost in his reverie and seemingly unaware of the observer. Van Gogh's first encounter with coal miners and their families was in 1879 when he arrived in Borinage, a bleak coal-mining district near Mons, as a Protestant missionary and preacher. Upon his arrival in the village of Warmes he wrote to his brother Theo: 'It's a sombre place, and at first sight everything around it has something dismal and deathly about it. The workers there are usually people, emaciated and pale owing to fever, who look exhausted and haggard, weather-beaten and prematurely old [...]. All around the mine are poor miners’’’’’’’’ dwellings with a couple of dead trees, completely black from the smoke, and thorn-hedges, dung-heaps and rubbish dumps, mountains of unusable coal. [Dutch painter Jacob] Maris would make a beautiful painting of it' (quoted in Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker (eds.), Vincent van Gogh. The Letters , New York, 2009, vol. I, letter no. 151, p. 239).   Van Gogh was just 26 years old and his experience living amongst the impoverished community affected him deeply. Inspired by their stoicism and in a bid to ease the burden of their lives, Van Gogh sought to abolish all distance between himself and his suffering neighbours, choosing to give away all his possessions and sleeping as they did on the floor of a hut. The Church strongly disapproved of what they deemed his excessive asceticism and Van Gogh was dismissed from his post after only six months. It was at this moment that Van Gogh discovered his true vocation as an artist, however, deciding to remain in the area for several more months to hone his skills as a draughtsman by drawing the miners and their families and chronicling the harsh conditions of their lives. He wrote to Theo: 'it was in this extreme poverty that I felt my energy return [...]. I couldn’’’’’’’’t tell you how happy I feel to have taken up drawing again' (quoted in ibid ., letter no. 158, p. 256). The empathy Van Gogh had felt for his models in these early, almost primitive, Borinage works is echoed in all of the artist’’’’’’’’s subsequent portraits of working men and women. Although the drawings became increasingly refined and emotion-laden, his subjects remained dignified and never sentimentalised. When Van Gogh took up the theme of miners again in October 1882 with drawings such as the present work, he was in fact living in The Hague and far from the coal mines themselves. His subject here is recognisable by his distinctive white whiskers as Adrianus Zuyderland, one of the artist’’’’’’’’s favourite models who lived in an almshouse nearby. A deaf, seventy-two-year-old pensioner, Zuyderland had small, heavy-lidded eyes, a hooked nose, and a bald pate; tufts of unruly white hair stuck out above his large, protruding ears, and dense mutton-chop whiskers covered his cheeks. ‘I'm very busy with drawings of an orphan man, as the almsmen are usually called here,’’’’’’’’ Van Gogh wrote to Anthon van Rappard. ‘Don’’’’’’’’t you think that the expressions orphan man and orphan woman are just right?’’’’’’’’ (quoted in ibid ., vol. II, letter no. 268, p. 164). Throughout the autumn and winter, Zuyderland came to Van Gogh’’’’’’’’s studio as often as he could. The artist never tired of drawing the old man’’’’’’’’s worn visage, irrevocably marked by adversity and sorrow; finally he had found a model commensurate to his boundless capacity for drawing. In some drawings, Van Gogh depicted Zuyderland standing proud and defiant; in others, the old man cradles his head in his hands in utter defeat. More often, however, Van Gogh captured his model in the midst of humble daily activities, poignant in their very predictability. It was after some experimentation with lithography in November 1882, that Van Gogh began to draw with lithographic crayons directly on paper. He even went back to work over older pencil drawings to add strength to expressive contours and a rich lustre to the shadows, as is believed to be the case in the present work, before applying highlights of opaque white watercolour. Remarkable for its striking monochrome palette with strong contrasts of light and dark,  Man with an Axe on his Shoulder  thus reveals the artist at his most psychologically poignant and technically sophisticated.
Vincent Van Gogh - Femme Semant/peasant Woman Sowing With A Basket

Vincent Van Gogh - Femme Semant/peasant Woman Sowing With A Basket

Original 1881
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Lot number: 304
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Lot 304: Vincent Van Gogh, Femme semant/Peasant Woman Sowing with a Basket, 1881 Condition Report: Professionally restored traces of age. Notes: VAT: Margin scheme Provenance: Jan Dona, The Hague; Galerie D. A. Hoogendyk, Amsterdam; Galerie Hermann Abels, Cologne; Private possession (since 1926) Dimensions: 62.2 x 47.2 cm Artist or Maker: Vincent Van Gogh Exhibited: Cologne 1925 (Kunstsalon Hermann Abels), Gemälde, Graphik, Plastik, cat. p. 44 f. with illus.; Amsterdam 1988/1989 (Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh), Van Gogh & Jean François Millet, cat. no. 69, p. 171 with colour illus. ("Zaiiende Vrouw"); until 2015 as a loan at Picasso-Museum, Münster Literature: Walther Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche Periode (1880-1885) in het werk van Vincent van Gogh, Antwerp 1937, no. 883 (no illus.), p. 54, p. 408; Vincent van Gogh, Sämtliche Briefe, vol. 1. An den Bruder Theo, pub. by Fritz Erpel, Zurich 1967, Letter 150, p. 242 f.; The complete letters of Vincent van Gogh, pub. by New York Graphic Society, Boston 1978, p. 237 ff. Letter 149 ff., September 1881; Vincent van Gogh, De brieven, De volledige, geïllustreerde en geannoteerde uitgave, publ. by Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam 2009, Deel 1, Brieven 166-193
Vincent Van Gogh - Old Man Praying

Vincent Van Gogh - Old Man Praying

Original 1882
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Lot number: 343
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Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890 OLD MAN PRAYING pencil and brush and ink on paper 66.1 by 52.9cm., 26 by 20 7/8 in. Executed in November-December 1882. Authentication The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Provenance Gallery Oldenzeel, Rotterdam (possibly) W. H. C. Bolleurs, Rotterdam Galerie Otto Wacker, Berlin Franz von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Berlin-Grunewald (acquired from the above in 1927) Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner circa 1960 Exhibited Berlin, Galerie Otto Wacker, Vincent van Gogh, Erste grosse Ausstellung seiner Zeichnungen, 1927, no. 98 Literature Jacob Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. F1027, illustrated p. 380 Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Revised and Enlarged Edition of the Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 354, illustrated p. 85 Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker (eds.), The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, 1881-1883, London, 2009, vol. II, illustrated p. 326 Catalogue Note Strikingly executed in a monochrome palette Old man praying is Van Gogh at his most psychologically poignant and authentic, and his expressive working is evident, even at this early point in his career, of the artist’’’’s daring manipulation and mastery of his medium. Depicted insistently close to the picture plane, the sitter is portrayed with dramatically lit face and hands, Van Gogh’’’’s subject kneels to pray at the most humble of altars. The result is an unflinchingly intimate and expressive portrait of an ordinary man in a moment of quiet solitude with faith. Executed in late April 1883, when the artist was living in The Hague, Old man praying is a powerful example of Van Gogh’’’’s early portraiture, undoubtedly among the most celebrated aspects of his œuvre. Having had difficulty finding models in his early career, Van Gogh found locals willing to pose for him regularly in The Hague and their everyday work and domestic activities became an important source of inspiration for the artist. Van Gogh sought to depict peasants as if he were an insider. Writing to his brother Theo, the famed Paris-based art dealer, Van Gogh remarked that 'peasants painted by city dwellers inevitably reminded one of the Paris suburbs,' and said that he preferred to live among peasants and share their sober lives (letter 400). On 30 th April 1883, Vincent wrote to report that he had been ‘working on a figure of a woman gathering peat on the heath and a kneeling figure of a man’’’’—almost certainly referring to the present work (letter 338). These expressive portraits of local people, often imbued with an exaggerated sense of isolation, reflect Van Gogh’’’’s own personal sense of solitude during this time. His letters reveal his anguished mental state and he wrote often to implore his brother to visit. Old man praying reflects this loneliness: the heavy, stoical posture of this subject—which is undoubtedly one of the most psychologically affecting of this series—reflects the melancholy of individual human struggle. The thick application of ink and charcoal in broad, deliberate strokes perfectly expresses the hardship of this man’’’’s daily life. These works were a projection of the artist's own internal struggles, a way for him to express his nervous introversion and solitude. According to Jan Hulsker, Van Gogh's intense focus on the studies of these subjects' heads and hands furthermore marks a key transition for the artist. He writes: 'In most of the portraits mentioned here the characterization of the heads is very well done, but what is most noteworthy is that he did things entirely his own way. He was not trying to achieve a romantic idealization of the subjects, but to render them forcefully and realistically, a striving that in a few months would culminate in his famous painting of the Potato Eaters' (J. Hulsker, op. cit., pp. 142 & 144).
Vincent Van Gogh - Landscape With Windswept Trees

Vincent Van Gogh - Landscape With Windswept Trees

Original 1884
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Lot number: 168
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Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890 LANDSCAPE WITH WINDSWEPT TREES Oil on paper laid down on panel 13 by 20 1/8 in. 33 by 51 cm Painted in November 1884. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Authentication This work will be included in the new van Gogh catalogue raisonnné being prepared by the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Provenance Oldenzeel Gallery, Rotterdam Daimaru, Japan Private Collection, Japan (acquired from the above in the 1960s) Thence by descent Exhibited Rotterdam, Oldenzeel Gallery, Van Gogh, 1903 Literature Jacob Baart de la Faille, L'Oeuvre de Vincent Van Gogh, Catalogue raisonné, tableaux, vol. II, Paris, 1928, no. 196, illustrated pl. LIII Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, illustrated p. 211 Catalogue Note The nearly two years spent in Nuenen, in the southern Netherlands, were very productive in van Gogh’’s early artistic career. The present work was painted in 1885, at the very end of this period, just before his departure for Antwerp; his celebrated masterpiece De Aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters), now in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, was painted at this same time. In March of 1885, van Gogh’’s father, the Reverend Theodorus van Gogh, collapsed on the threshold of the family home, where the artist still lived. The experience was profoundly influential on this transitional period in van Gogh’’s oeuvre. By May, following his father’’s death, the artist left the parsonage and rented a small studio and sleeping quarters on his own in town. “I have lately been making some studies of the fall landscape outdoors,” wrote van Gogh in October of 1885 (quoted in Jan Hulsker, op. cit., p. 208). The works created in October and November of this year, the present painting included, are all the more poignant and emotive when considered in context of the changes the artist experienced during this year, and the looser application of paint that defines the foliage prefigures the more fiercely dramatic brushwork so characteristic of his later pictures. Fig. 1 Vincent Van Gogh, Autumn Landscape with Four Trees , 1885, oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Netherlands See More See Less
Vincent Van Gogh - Paysage Sous Un Ciel Mouvementé

Vincent Van Gogh - Paysage Sous Un Ciel Mouvementé

Original 1889
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Lot number: 14
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Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890 PAYSAGE SOUS UN CIEL MOUVEMENTÉ Oil on canvas 23 3/4 by 29 in. 60. 5 by 73.7 cm Painted in Arles in mid-April 1889. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Authentication The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Provenance Theo van Gogh, Paris (the artist's brother; acquired July 15, 1889) Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Amsterdam (widow of the above; inherited in 1891) Dr. Willem J. Leuring, The Hague (acquired from the above in 1901 and until at least 1905) Galerie Druet, Paris (in 1908) (possibly) Amedée Schuffenecker, Meudon (possibly) Galerie E. Blot, Paris Marczell von Nemes, Budapest (acquired before 1912 and sold: Paris, Hotel Drouot, November 21, 1918, lot 45) P. Voûte Jr., Amsterdam Galerie Johann N. H. Eisenloeffel, Amsterdam Harry S. Southam, Ottawa (1928 and until at least 1934) W. Scott & Son, Montreal (acquired from the above) Alex. Reid and Lefevre (The Lefevre Gallery), London & Bignou Gallery, New York (probably acquired from the above by 1938 and until circa 1944) Galerie Moos, Geneva (acquired by 1948) Acquired from the above by 1955 Exhibited The Hague, Kunstkring, 1892, no. 29 Rotterdam, Oldenzeel, 1904, no. 67 Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 1905, no. 154 Paris, Galerie Barbazanges, Centenaire de la peinture francaise, 1928 Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada; Toronto, Toronto Art Gallery & Montreal, Art Association, French Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, 1934, no. 61, illustrated in the catalogue New York, Bignou Gallery, London, Alex. Reid and Lefevre (The Lefevre Gallery), The Tragic Painters, 1938, no. 3 (New York) and no. 41 (London), illustrated in the catalogue (dated March 1890) Bristol, Royal Hotel, French Painting of the 19th and 20th Centuries, 1938, no. 38 New York, Bignou Gallery, Significant Landmarks of Nineteenth Century French Paintings, 1939, no. 10, illustrated in the catalogue London, Alex. Reid and Lefevre (The Lefevre Gallery), Milestones in French Painting, 1939, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue (dated March 1890) New York, Bignou Gallery, The Post Impressionists, 1940, no. 10 Houston, McMillen Gallery, Vincent Van Gogh and other famous French Painters, 1941, no. 6, illustrated on the cover New York, Bignou Gallery, Ancient Chinese and Modern European Paintings, 1943, no. 27 Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Kunst van Heden, 1955, no. 172 Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Van Gogh, 2000, no. 74, illustrated in color in the catalogue Vienna, Albertina, Van Gogh, Heartfelt Lines, 2008, no. 102, illustrated in color in the catalogue Kunstmuseum Basel, Vincent van Gogh, Zwischen Erde und Himmel, Die Landschaften, 2009, no. 48, illustrated in color in the catalogue Denver Art Museum, Becoming van Gogh, 2012, no. 82, illustrated in color in the catalogue Madrid, Museu Thyssen-Bornemisza, Impressionism and Open-Air Painting, From Corot to Van Gogh, 2013 Paris, Musée d'Orsay, Van Gogh, Artaud. Le suicidé de la société, 2014, no. 43, illustrated in color in the catalogue Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, 1997-2015 (on loan) Literature Druet Photo, 1914, no. 3316 The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, New York, 1958, LT 584 & 600; B3 Julius Meier-Graefe, Vincent, Munich 1922, vol. II, illustrated pl. 26 Victor Doiteau & Edgard Leroy, La folie de Van Gogh, Paris, 1928, illustrated p. 113 Jacob Baart de la Faille, L'oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue Raisonné, Paris & Brussels, 1928, no. 575, illustrated Julius Meier-Graefe, Vincent Van Gogh, New York, 1933, illustrated pl. 17 Clarence J. Bulliet, The Significant Moderns and their Pictures, New York, 1936, illustrated pl. 64 Willem Scherjon & W. Josiah de Gruyter, Vincent van Gogh's Great Period: Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise (Complete Catalogue), Amsterdam, 1937, no. 100, illustrated p. 129 (titled Meadow Spangled with Dandelions) George Slocombe, Rebels of Art, New York, 1939, illustrated pl. 20 Jacob-Baart de la Faille & Charles Terrasse, Vincent van Gogh, 1939, no. 585 (F.575), illustrated p. 406 (titled Landscape Under a Stormy Sky) Art Digest, New York, March 1, 1939, illustrated Art News, New York, November 15, 1942, illustrated p. 14 Louis Hautecoeur, Van Gogh, Monaco, 1946, illustrated p. 92 Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, his Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. 575, illustrated p. 240 (titled Landscape Under a Stormy Sky) Paolo Lecaldano, Tout l’’oeuvre peint de Van Gogh, Paris, 1971, vol. II, no. 496, illustrated p. 207 Jan Hulsker, The Complete van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1977, no. 1422, illustrated p. 322 Ronald Pickvance, Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers, New York, 1986, illustrated pp. 293 & 295 Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, illustrated p. 295 Ingo F. Walther & Rainer Metzger, Vincent van Gogh, Sämtliche Gemälde, Cologne, 1989, vol. II , illustrated in color p. 338 (French edition, 1994, ditto) (titled Landscape Under a Stormy Sky) Jan Hulsker, The Complete van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 1422, illustrated p. 322 Fondation Pierre Gianadda, ed., Collection Louis et Evelyn Franck, Zurich, 1998, illustrated in color p. 51 Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker, eds., The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, Arles, 1888-1889, vol. IV, Brussels, 2009, illustrated in color p. 429 Walter Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh, The Years in France, Complete Paintings 1886-1890, London, 2013, illustrated in color p. 179 Catalogue Note Van Gogh's dramatically atmospheric Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé is one of the finest of the artist's Arles landscapes. Painted amidst the most fruitful period of the artist's career, when his canvases were flooded with rich passages of densely-painted color, the composition depicts a verdant field under threat of an explosive rainstorm. Van Gogh creates a scene of intense anticipation here, replete with psychological drama as the laborers hurry to finish their work before the heavens rain down upon them. This painting was completed only two months before Van Gogh executed what is arguably his most celebrated work, The Starry Night, now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé can be considered the thundering precursor to the MoMA picture and the first act of Van Gogh's grand celestial exploration. Both of these paintings celebrate the majestic beauty of nature and the uncontrollable and often turbulent forces that shaped Van Gogh's world. In his analysis of Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé, Sjraar van Heugten discusses the events that led to Van Gogh's completion of this important painting in April of 1889: "This Provençal landscape of a meadow in Spring is among the last paintings which Van Gogh made in the countryside near Arles. Known by the title, Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé, as well as Meadows, it was painted in the first half of April 1889, just a few weeks before Van Gogh would leave Arles and admit himself to the asylum of Saint-Paul-de Mausole in Saint-Remy. During his Dutch years (1881-1885), Van Gogh’’s main goal had been becoming a painter of the human figure, following in the footsteps of painters like Jean-François Millet, Jules Breton and Joseph Israëls. But even in that period, his landscape paintings and drawings show his unusual talent for that genre. In the South of France, where he found an abundance of motives in nature, this capacity would lead to an astonishing number of masterpieces. Van Gogh had arrived in Arles on February 20, 1888. After two years in Paris (early 1886-early 1888) he had grown very tired of urban life. He wanted to go to Marseille, but decided to go to Arles first, to recuperate in rural surroundings and a mild climate. Soon, Arles and the Provençal countryside turned out to be a treasure trove of inspiration, and Van Gogh would never go to Marseille. In Paris he had discovered Japanese art and in the South he hoped to find the same harmony, color and light that he had observed in Japanese Ukiyo-e prints. He was not disappointed. He had high hopes that he could persuade other avant-garde artists to come to Arles and establish an artists community, ‘A Studio of the South’’. Upon arrival - and to his dismay - he had found Arles covered under some 60 cm of snow. During the first weeks he had few chances of working outside, but the weather finally turned on 10 March. He then set off to produce a long series of flowering orchards. During his two years in Paris, Van Gogh worked hard to change his stylistic approach and dark palette into a modern way of painting with strong, vibrant colors. He had studied Impressionism, the works of the young avant-garde, Japanese art, and a broad range of other artists. His understanding of color theories became profound. He experimented with several techniques, such as the Neo-Impressionist’’s dots and strokes, and the almost draughtsman-like brushstroke of the peinture à l’’essence, painted with very thin paint. He found that working in a heavy impasto suited him best and allowed him to work in a lively and expressive manner. These achievements came together in Arles, where Van Gogh developed his singular modern idiom fully. The bright light and remarkable colors of the South were ideally suited for his coloristic talents. Van Gogh sought to make truly modern figure pieces, and some of the figures and portraits he painted in Arles are among the best in his oeuvre. But the landscape painter in him was greatly inspired by the nature of the South, and his achievements in that genre are amongst the most radical innovations in the history of art. After his spring campaign of flowering orchards, summer followed with the harvest of the wheat, one of Van Gogh's favorite motifs. Autumn landscapes and parks were attacked with equal vigor. On October 23, 1888, after having postponed several times, Paul Gauguin arrived in Arles to join Van Gogh, who by now lived and worked in the Yellow House. Van Gogh had high hopes that his studio in the South would indeed be realized, since he saw Gauguin as the de facto leader in such a community. For many weeks the artists worked well together, inspiring each other and exchanging artistic insights. However, their preferences and temperaments clashed, and at the end of December a fierce discussion got out of hand. During what was probably a first attack of his illness, Van Gogh cut off a part of his left earlobe and had to be hospitalized. Gauguin left Arles on December 25 and Van Gogh's dream of a studio of young artists was shattered. Van Gogh's last four months in Arles were marked by problems and incidents. People from the neighborhood around the Yellow House turned against him and in the end he had to leave. Due to attacks of his illness he returned to the hospital several times and stayed there for weeks. In April 1889, when he was again staying in the hospital, he felt well enough to go outside and paint the Spring landscape. In a letter of mid April he asks Theo to send him a large batch of paint, adding: ‘I have 6 spring studies, including two large orchards. It’’s very urgent, because these effects are so fleeting.’’ [758][1] One of these studies was Meadows (the present work). Van Gogh mentions the painting three times in his letter, but does not comment on it. It is, however, very tempting to see a reflection in it of Van Gogh’’s feelings during those days filled with worry. At the beginning of April, Van Gogh had written to Theo: ‘I’’m well these days, apart from a certain vague background sadness that’’s hard to define.’’ [754] At the end of the month he wrote to his sister Willemien that he had suffered four attacks of his illness over the past months and he is worried about the future: ‘It’’s very likely that I have a lot more to suffer'...‘I can’’t precisely describe what the thing I have is like, there are terrible fits of anxiety sometimes – without any apparent cause – or then again a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the mind.’’ [764] Van Gogh’’s melancholy mood found his way into some of his works. In that same letter he describes a view of the courtyard of the hospital which he painted: ‘[…] it’’s a painting chock-full of flowers and springtime greenery. However, three black, sad tree-trunks cross it like snakes, and in the foreground four large sad, dark box bushes.’’ On May 3 he writes to Theo that he made a drawing of a weeping tree ‘which became very dark and quite melancholic for springtime.’’ [768] In Meadows, Van Gogh possibly wants to convey this sentiment. With its cheery field with flowers it is clearly a spring scene. A man and a woman to the left are out for a stroll. She is bending over, probably to pick some flowers. Van Gogh often added such couples to compositions to give the image a touch of human romance and a feeling of consolation. The landscape and the figures are painted in a quick but careful way, and the colors are bright and lively. The heavy gray clouds in the blue sky are highly unusual in Van Gogh’’s work from Arles. They are painted with a thick brush in forceful and expressive strokes, and are in contrast with the lightness of the lower part of the painting. They may have been included to evoke the feeling of melancholy that had Van Gogh in its grip. It gives the painting a strong personal touch and makes it a moving testimony of the painter’’s life during that late period in Arles. Ronald Pickvance has suggested a possible location for this scene, but the landscape contains so few identifying topographical clues that any certainty seems impossible.[2] The painting was mainly done in one session with possibly some added touches in the next days. Van Gogh painted on a standard size canvas, a so-called toile de 20 figure. Like many contemporary artists in France, Van Gogh bought standard size canvases or cut canvas from a role to fit standard size frames. They came in three categories, paysage, marine and figure and the number referred to the price in sous that they cost when the system was introduced. A toile de 20 figure measures 73 x 60 cm. Van Gogh usually bought his canvases pre-primed. When Van Gogh left Arles, he had to leave some of his work behind. In the first half of July 1889, he went from Saint-Rémy to Arles to pick up canvases and on 15 or 16 July he sent 11 paintings to Theo by train, Meadows (the present work) amongst them" (Sjraar van Heugten in correspondence with Sotheby's, October 2015). [1] The letter numbers refer to Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker, Vincent van Gogh – The Letters. The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, Amsterdam etc. 2009. See also the online edition, with more extensive annotation: vangoghletters.org. [2] Pickvance 2000, no. 74, p. 307, see literature Sotheby's is grateful to Sjraar van Heugten for writing the catalogue note for the present lot. Fig. 1 Vincent van Gogh, Nature morte , vase aux marguerites et coquelicots, 1890, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby’’’’s, New York, November 4, 2014, lot 17 for $61,765,000 Fig. 2 Vincent van Gogh, L’’’’Allée des Alyscamps , 1888, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby’’’’s, New York, May 5, 2015, lot 18 for $65,330,000 Fig. 3 Vincent van Gogh, A Starry Night , June 1889, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Fig. 4 Vincent van Gogh, Peach Blossom in the Crau , 1889, oil on canvas, Courtauld Institute of Art, London Fig. 5 Vincent van Gogh, Orchard in Bloom with View of Arles , 1889 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Fig. 6 Vincent van Gogh, Orchard in Blossom with a View of Arles , 1889, Neue Pinakothek, Munich Fig. 7 Vincent van Gogh, The courtyard of the Hospital in Arles , 1889, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Fig. 8 Vincent van Gogh, A garden in the Place Lamartine (Weeping tree in the grass) , 1889, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Fig. 9 Theo van Gogh in 1889 See More See Less
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