VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
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VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)

Parc à Arles avec un coin de la Maison Jaune

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Parc à Arles avec un coin de la Maison Jaune
reed pen and brown ink over pencil on paper
13 3/4 x 10 1/8 in. (35 x 25.9 cm.)
Drawn in 1888
Theo van Gogh, Paris (acquired from the artist, 7 May 1888).
Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Paris (by descent from the above).
Vincent W. van Gogh, Amsterdam (by descent from the above).
Egbert Jan and L.F. Kuipers, The Netherlands (gift from the above, May 1942).
Dr. Johannes Egbert Kuipers, The Netherlands (by descent from the above, December 1979).
Nancy Whyte Fine Arts, Inc., New York (September 2000).
Acquired from the above by the late owner.
J.-B. de la Faille, L'oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1928, vol. I, p. 144, no. 1476 (titled Parc à Arles).
W. Muensterberger, Vincent van Gogh: Drawings, Pastels, Studies, New York, 1947, p. 57 (illustrated; titled Park at Arles).
V.W. van Gogh, ed., The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, London, 1958, vol. II, pp. 552-556, letter 480.
J.-B. de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 514 and 664, no. 1476 (illustrated, p. 514; with incorrect provenance).
J. Hulsker, "The intriguing drawings of Arles" in Bulletin of the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, 1974, no. 4, pp. 27-30.
C.W. Millard, "A Chronology of Van Gogh's Drawings of 1888" in Master Drawings, 1974, no. 2, pp. 158 and 165.
J. Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1977, p. 319, no. 1409 (illustrated; with incorrect provenance).
F. Erpel, Vincent van Gogh, die Rohrfederzeichnungen, Munich, 1990, no. 18 (illustrated).
J.-B. de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works on Paper, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1992, vol. I, pp. 384-385, no. 1476 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. CLXIII; with incorrect provenance).
L. Heenk, Vincent van Gogh's Drawings: An Analysis of their Production and Uses, PhD. diss., London, 1995, p. 178.
J. Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 319, no. 1409 (illustrated).
L. Jansen, H. Luijten and N. Bakker, eds., Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, London, 2009, pp. 70-74, letter 602 (illustrated in color, p. 72).
Arles, Ancien Hospital van Gogh Arles, Van Gogh et Arles, February-May 1989, p. 50, no. 20 (illustrated in color, p. 51; titlted Un jardin public de la Place Lamartine).
Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Vincent van Gogh Drawings, March-July 1990, pp. 218 and 247, no. 171 (illustrated in color, p. 246; titled Parc municipal sur la place Lamartine and dated April-May 1888).
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, 1989-September 2000 (on extended loan).
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Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

“I have an enormous amount of drawing to do, because I’d like to do drawings in the style of Japanese prints. I can’t do anything but strike while the iron’s hot,” Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in April 1888 (Letter 594, in L. Jansen, H. Luijten and N. Bakker, eds., Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, London, 2009, vol. 4, p. 46). His move to Arles earlier in the year precipitated a renewed interest in this medium. Graphic work played a dual role with painting at this time, both interchangeable parts of his practice as he moved between these two approaches.
Executed in reed pen and brown ink, Parc à Arles avec un coin de la Maison Jaune pictures a corner of the gardens that bordered the Place Lamartine, the site of the Yellow House, where Van Gogh had moved in May 1888. The range of foliage and trees, cut and wild grass, hidden corners and more expansive views, offered Van Gogh an unending supply of motifs, making this one of his favorite subjects of Arles. With a host of different marks of varying weights—rapid, fine lines, thicker strokes, staccato dots and dashes—here, Van Gogh harnessed the versatility of reed pen, a medium he had readopted in Arles, to create a drawing that is alive with movement and atmosphere.
Van Gogh decided to take up drawing not long after he had arrived in Arles. Just as his obsession with Japonisme had led him to relocate to the south, so it also inspired his desire to work in this medium, creating his own drawings in the manner of Japanese prints. He had already acquired a number of these ukiyo-e and was influenced by the calligraphic handling of these works as well as the flattened perspective they employed.
Practically too, drawing offered Van Gogh new ways of working which fundamentally altered all aspects of his practice. When, in April 1888, Theo van Gogh was encountering financial difficulties, Van Gogh turned to drawing as a way of conserving his precious paint supplies. He soon found that with pen and ink he could work despite the whims of the weather—especially the notorious winds of the local mistral. As a result of both of these factors, Van Gogh found he was freed from the pressure he so often felt when painting. The spontaneity and instinctiveness of many of his drawings is a reflection of this sense of liberation. “I wish paint was as little of a worry to work with as pen and paper… With paper, whether it’s a letter I’m writing or a drawing I’m working on, there’s never a misfire” (Letter 638, op. cit., p. 139).
Reed pen was a tool in plentiful supply due to proliferation of reeds along the banks of the canals in Arles. This medium transformed Van Gogh’s draughtsmanship. Offering a great versatility—it could be used like a brush to create wider strokes, as well as finer lines, and required frequent reinking which led to the range of weight in many of the marks—the reed pen allowed Van Gogh to create broader, more fluent, expansive and varied works on paper, as the present work masterfully demonstrates.

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