Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Oude Man en Vrouw

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Oude Man en Vrouw
black lithographic crayon over pencil with white heightening on paper
18¾ x 10¾ in. (47.5 x 27.5 cm.)
Executed in The Hague, 1882
M.A. de Zwart, The Hague (acquired from the artist).
Hubert Paulus, Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken (acquired from the above); sale, Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, 25-26 November 1913, lot 127.
Helene Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, The Netherlands (acquired at the above sale).
Jantina Pownall-Kisjes (gift from the above, June 1914).
Private collection (by descent from the above, 1974); sale, Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 25 June 2008, lot 11.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
M. Vellekoop, "A newly discovered drawing by Van Gogh," The Burlington Magazine, vol. CL, no. 1259, February 2008, pp. 106-109, no. 44 (illustrated in color, p. 107).
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, New Discovery, February-March 2008.

Lot Essay

Marije Vellekoop, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Van Gogh Museum, has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Executed in The Hague in late 1882, Oude Man en Vrouw is one of only eight drawings to be added to the recognized oeuvre of Van Gogh since the 1970 publication of De la Faille's revised catalogue raisonné. The present work was accepted by the Van Gogh Museum on several significant bases: its materials--rubbed black lithographic crayon over the heavy carpenter pencil which Van Gogh favored for its sturdy application; recognizable models--Adrianus Zuyderland, whose wizened features and distinctive white side-whiskers appear frequently in Van Gogh's contemporary figure studies (e.g. De la Faille, no. 1010) and his aged companion, who closely resembles the subject of Head of a Woman (De la Faille, no. 1009); and its sterling provenance which can be traced directly back to The Hague in the artist's lifetime.

The consignor at the 2008 auction was given the drawing in 1974 by his great aunt, Jantina Pownall-Kisjes, who had earlier received the work from Helene Kröller-Müller on the occasion of her 1914 marriage to Clifford Henry Pownall. Mrs. Kröller-Müller had bought the drawing from an auction at Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam in November 1913. The majority of works by Van Gogh at this sale were offered from the collection of Hubert Paulus, Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken, who had acquired the entirety from M.A. de Zwart, the son of Van Gogh's 1882 landlord. How De Zwart came by these works is unclear, however. As Van Gogh Museum drawings curator Marije Vellekoop writes: "it is not known whether Van Gogh sold the drawings to De Zwart or gave them to him, possibly in order to pay his rent, or whether they were among the works left behind in the attic when he decided to leave The Hague and go to Drenthe" (op. cit., p. 109).

Seventeen of the eighteen drawings by Van Gogh in the 1913 sale had been previously identified. The title (Homme et femme en conversation), dimensions (47.5 x 27.5 cm.) and medium (crayon) of the hitherto unknown eighteenth drawing match those of the present work. Its accompanying catalogue description reads: "Van Gogh's landlord turned to the left, leaning on his cane and holding a pipe in his hand, conversing with a woman carrying a shopping basket in her right hand" (ibid., p. 109).

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam mounted an exhibition in 2008 to commemorate the rediscovery of the present work.

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