VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
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VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)

Landschap met Lopende Vrouw

Details
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Landschap met Lopende Vrouw
gouache, pen and brush and ink and pencil on paper
11 3⁄4 x 17 1⁄8 in. (29.8 x 43.5 cm.)
Executed in The Hague in April - May 1883
Provenance
Obach & Co., London.
Galerie Heinemann, Munich (no. 10764), by whom acquired from the above, on 23 December 1910.
Otto Gerstenberg, Berlin, by whom acquired from the above, on 14 August 1911, and thence by descent; sale, Christie's, London, 2 December 1996, lot 5A.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
Letter from J.-B. de la Faille to Otto Gerstenberg, 24 May 1924.
J.-B. de la Faille, Les Faux van Gogh, Paris & Brussels, 1930, no. 161, pp. 38-39 (illustrated pl. XLVII; titled 'Paysage par un temps orageux' and incorrectly described as by another hand).
W. Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin: The Reception of van Gogh in Germany from 1901 to 1914, Zwolle, 1988, p. 156.
S. van Heugten, Vincent van Gogh Drawings, vol. I, The Early Years: 1880-1883, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 230 (illustrated fig. 65b; titled 'Landscape with Woman and Child').
S. Koldehoff, 'Wie Vincent van Gogh mit Milch fixierte', in Art. Das Kunstmagazin, no. 10, Hamburg, October 1996, pp. 74-75 (illustrated; titled 'Landschaft mit Frau und Kind').
Van Gogh Museum, ed., Van Gogh Museum Journal, Amsterdam, Autumn 1996, p. 11 (illustrated fig. 2; titled 'Landscape').
J. Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, no. ADD. 22, p. 486 (illustrated).
J. Scharf & T.W. Gaehtgens, 'Die sammlung Otto Gerstenberg in Berlin', in A. Pophanken & F. Billeter, Die Moderne und ihre Sammler: Französische Kunst in Deustchem Privatbesitz vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik, Berlin, 2001, p. 181.
J. Scharf, ed., Die historische sammlung Otto Gerstenberg, vol. II, Sammlungsverzeichnis, Ostfildern, 2012, no. 441 (illustrated; titled 'Auf dem Heimweg').
Exhibited
Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Vincent van Gogh, May - June 1914, no. 11a (titled 'Landstrasse').
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, April - May 1996.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Post lot text
The Van Gogh Museum has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Sale room notice
Please see Christies.com for additional cataloguing.

Brought to you by

Keith Gill
Keith Gill Head of Evening Sale, Head of Department

Lot Essay


In the early 1880s Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh departed from Impressionists such as Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, who captured urban life and the encroachment of industrialization in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Inspired by the Realist painters Jules Breton and Jean-François Millet, Van Gogh looked instead to the natural landscape, preferring to portray those who toiled within it rather than the denizens of the demi-mondeLandschap met Lopende Vrouw is characteristic of Van Gogh’s early work, capturing the hardship endured by the working poor with a sympathetic but unyielding hand.

The son of a Dutch Reform pastor, religion exerted a formative influence on the artist. From an early age he sought to follow in his father’s footsteps. Though he inherited the elder Van Gogh’s zeal, he lacked his charisma, and by 1880 Vincent abandoned his attempts at ministry and turned his attention towards art. From then on, nature gradually began to replace religion for him as a locus for spirituality. The present work is an almost reverential depiction of a woman carrying a small child, and their resolute progress through the unforgiving landscape. Landschap met Lopende Vrouw anticipates the overwhelming emotive content of his later work. Here, a more contained emotional tenor is generated by the undulating trunks of the wind-bent trees which frame the road, and the central figurative pair, standing tall and stoic amidst the landscape.

Primarily an autodidact, Van Gogh struggled to teach himself to draw, intently studying Charles Bargue’s Cours de dessin. The present work was likely done with an artistic aid designed by Armand Cassagne, a wooden or metal frame with intersecting strings known as the Abécédaire du dessin. Van Gogh employed this device to aid him in the construction of academic perspective through most of the 1880s, writing to his brother Theo in 1882: ‘I think you can imagine how delightful it is to turn this “spy-hole” frame on… the fantastic network of thin and thick branches and trunks in autumn’ (quoted in C. Ives, Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings, exh. cat., New York, 2005, p. 9). A rare oil painting from the period, Tulpenland (circa 1883) (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) was also likely created with this device, and shows fields of tulips bifurcated by pathways that form solid perspectival lines, much like the path in the present work does.

During this period Van Gogh was fascinated by printer’s ink. In a series of letters to Theo in April and May of 1883 he extolled the virtues of this ink, and his excitement at its expressive potential. He praised the ‘lively effects’ and ‘deep tones’ made possible by printer’s ink, and explored a number of ways to incorporate white pigment in with the black. In Landschap met Lopende Vrouw we see the results of one such experimentation: the black pigment has varying degrees of opacity, from the thinned wash of the road to the impenetrable black of the tree trunks. These tones are augmented by brilliant whites and softer greys, from the sky, which captures the effects of sun struggling through a cloudbank on an overcast autumnal day, to the carved flicks of white highlighting the upright grasses that edge the road. A similar drawing of a year later, Laan van knotberken en populieren (Art Institute of Chicago) does away with the white accents. Here, crowded black trees line the road like oppressive iron bars, unmitigated by the contrasting whites of the present work.

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