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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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM A NOTABLE PRIVATE COLLECTION
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)

Boerin bij de wastobbe, in een tuin(Woman by the Wash Tub, in a Garden)

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Boerin bij de wastobbe, in een tuin
(Woman by the Wash Tub, in a Garden)
signed 'Vincent' (lower right)
black crayon, pen, brush and black and sepia ink and pencil on paper
13 x 10 3/8 in. (33 x 26.4 cm.)
Executed in Nuenen in September - October 1885
Hidde Nijland, Dordrecht & The Hague.
Scott & Fowles, New York.
Private collection, United States, by whom acquired from the above; sale, The Anderson Galleries, New York, 3-4 April 1924, lot 290 (illustrated).
Julius Wilhelm Böhler, Lucerne, by whom acquired in New York by 1928.
Robert von Hirsch, Basel; his estate sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 June 1978, lot 842.
Max Sachar, Cape Town; sale, Sotheby's, London, 29 June 1983, lot 109.
Private collection, United States, circa 2000; sale, Christie's, New York, 9 May 2007, lot 20.
Private collection, New England, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Christie’s, New York, 5 November 2013, lot 3.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J.-B. de la Faille, L'œuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue raisonné, vol. IV, Paris & Brussels, 1928, no. 1284, p. 102.
W. Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche periode, 1880-1885, in het werk van Vincent van Gogh, Antwerp, 1937, no. 1284, pp. 275, 395 & 412 (titled 'Schotel wasschende boerin').
J.-B. de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. 1284, p. 453 (illustrated, p. 452).
J. Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1977, no. 907, p. 201 (illustrated; titled 'Peasant Woman at the Wash Tub and Peasant Woman Hanging Up the Laundry').
J.-B. de la Faille and A. Wofsy, ed., Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works on Paper, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1992, vol. I, no. 1284, pp. 102 & 329 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. CXIV).
J. Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1996, no. 907, p. 210 (illustrated; titled 'Peasant Woman at the Wash Tub and Peasant Woman Hanging Up the Laundry' and dated 'second half August 1885').
Basel, Kunsthalle Basel, Vincent van Gogh, October - November 1947, no. 145, p. 34 (titled 'Beim Wäschehängen').
Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Robert von Hirsch, March - April 1978, no. 146, p. 60; this exhibition later travelled to Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich, April - May 1978 and London, Royal Academy, June 1978.
New York, Dickinson Roundell, 19th & 20th Century Works on Paper, May 2000, no. 17.
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.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

'I’ve been spying on these peasant figures here for a year and a half and on their activities, precisely to get some character into it,' Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, in July 1885, describing the extensive preparation and focus that lay behind his most recent figure studies (Letters, no. 512; 6 July 1885, in L. Jansen, H. Luijten & N. Bakker, eds., Vincent van Gogh: The Letters. The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, Vol. 3, London, 2009, p. 257). The artist had moved to Nuenen in December 1883, and over the course of the following two years dedicated himself to recording the many different facets of life he witnessed in the small Dutch town. In a myriad of paintings and drawings Van Gogh focused his eye on the rhythms of the local community, capturing the everyday occurrences that marked the existence of these rural people, from figures toiling in the fields as they gathered a harvest, to the quiet domestic tasks of women in the home, and the intimacy of a shared meal amongst family after a long day of work. Created during the opening weeks of autumn 1885, Boerin bij de wastobbe, in een tuin (Woman by the Wash Tub, in a Garden) is a monumental depiction of one such figure, a local woman as she bends over a tub of washing, while lines of clean laundry hang from the trees surrounding her.
The theme of women washing reappeared across Van Gogh’s oeuvre during this period, featuring in several different configurations and contexts. For example, the present drawing is very similar in composition and pose to Boerin die een pot schoonmaakt, now in the Kröller-Müller Museum (Hulsker, no. 906), while Boerenvrouw die de was klaarlegt (Hulsker, no. 908) explores another aspect of the laborious task, in which the laundry is sorted and reviewed before being added to the basin. Though bent over at the waist and looking downwards, there is an almost statuesque monumentality to the central figure in Boerin bij de wastobbe, in een tuin – clad in a pendulous skirt and workers’ clogs, the woman stoops to scrub clothes in her washtub, her movements illustrating the physical demands of the task, while another figure moves along the lines of wet clothes behind her. Using a mixture of black crayon, pen, black and sepia ink and pencil, Van Gogh captures the scene through a myriad of rapid, overlapping lines, imbuing the figures with volume and a sense of internal energy, his hand lightly blending the pigments in certain areas to create soft shadows and depth.
Capturing this sense of movement was an essential element to Van Gogh’s vision at this time: ‘Showing the FIGURE OF THE PEASANT IN ACTION,’ he wrote, ‘you see that’s what a figure is – I repeat – essentially modern – the heart of modern art itself – that which neither the Greeks, nor the Renaissance, nor the old Dutch school have done… this is a matter I think about every day’ (letter no. 515; 14 July 1885, in ibid., p. 266). The pose in Boerin bij de wastobbe, in een tuin is strikingly similar to Van Gogh’s heroic depictions of farmers and labourers harvesting or planting in the fields from these years. In this way, Van Gogh connects the everyday task of laundering clothes, traditionally viewed as ‘women’s work,’ to the wider cycles of manual labour which were essential to the welfare and successful running of the community, celebrating the contribution of the ordinary people and, most importantly, the women of Nuenen to life in the town.

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