Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
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Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
4 More
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art from the Collections of Arnold Gumowitz and The Anne Ulnick Foundation
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Wever naar rechts gekeerd (Weaver Facing Right)

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Wever naar rechts gekeerd (Weaver Facing Right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
14 ½ x 17 ¾ in. (36.8 x 45.2 cm.)
Painted in Nuenen in 1884
Anna Carbentus van Gogh, Nuenen and Breda (mother of the artist; November 1885-February 1886).
Janus Schrauwen, Breda (from the above, April 1888).
Jan C. Couvreur, Breda (acquired from the above, 14 August 1902).
Kees Mouwen Jr. and Willem van Bakel, Breda (acquired from the above, 1902-1903).
Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, Rotterdam (on consignment from the above, by 1903).
Dr. Hendricus Petrus Bremmer, The Hague (acquired from the above, by 1911, then by descent); sale, Christie's, New York, 3 November 2009, lot 24.
Private collection, Switzerland (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, New York, 16 November 2016, lot 47B.
Acquired at the above sale by Arnold and Anne Ulnick Gumowitz.
H.P. Bremmer, Beeldende Kunst, vol. 4, no. 1, 1916-1917, no. 91.
J.-B. de la Faille, L'oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1928, p. 52, no. 162 (illustrated, pl. IX).
W. Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche Periode in het Werk van Vincent van Gogh, Antwerp, 1937, pp. 281, 317 and 415, no. 162.
J.-B. de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1939, p. 150, no. 180 (illustrated).
J.-B. de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 96 and 617, no. 162 (illustrated, p. 97).
J. Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1977, p. 108, no. 457 (illustrated, p. 109).
R. Lecaldano, L'opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh, Milan, 1977, p. 94, no. 36 (illustrated).
I.F. Walther and R. Metzger, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 36 (illustrated in color).
J. Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 108, no. 457 (illustrated, p. 109).
H. Balk, De Kunstpaus: H.P. Bremmer, 1871-1956, Bussum, 2006, p. 460.
L. Jansen, H. Luijten and N. Bakker, eds., Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, Amsterdam, 2009, vol. 3, pp. 104-105, letters 427-428 (illustrated in color, fig. 2).
(probably) Rotterdam, Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, Vincent van Gogh, November-December 1903.
The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, 1929-1976 (on extended loan).
Brussels, Koninklijk Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Honderd jaar Nederlandsche schilderkunst, January-February 1932.
Kunsthalle Basel, Vincent van Gogh, October-November 1947, p. 18, no. 7.
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, De Arbeid in de Kunst: Van Meunier tot Permeke, April-June 1952, p. 18, no. 36.
Paris, Museé Jacquemart-André, Vincent van Gogh, February-March 1960, p. 29, no. 6.
Dusseldorf, Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen Deutscher und Französischer Meister, April-June 1978, p. 7 (illustrated in color).
Dusseldorf, Galerie Wilhelm Grosshennig, Deutscher und Französischer Kunstwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts, October 1978-March 1979, p. 11 (illustrated in color).
Slot Zeist, Kunst als Passie: Jubileum Tentoonstelling Kunstgalerij Albricht, December 1998-January 1999 (illustrated in color).
Rome, Complesso Monumentale del Vittoriano, Vincent van Gogh: Timeless Country, Modern City, October 2010-February 2011, pp. 133 and 239, no. 32 (illustrated in color, pp. 132-133; illustrated again, p. 239).
Further details
The Van Gogh Museum has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

Painted in February 1884, Vincent van Gogh’s Wever naar rechts gekeerd is a richly layered work dedicated to the industrious activities of the weavers of Nuenen, whom the artist had discovered at a key moment of transition and development in his work. The skills that Van Gogh refined while painting the small, but pivotal, series of compositions dedicated to these modest workers would prove invaluable when he embarked upon his famous Potato Eaters the following year, widely considered a masterpiece from this early Dutch period. Through his sustained study and analysis of these local artisans, Van Gogh expanded on his favorite subject of the humble citizen at work, as he moved increasingly towards becoming a truly modern artist.
Van Gogh had initially expressed an interest in depicting the weavers at their looms in the fall of 1882, writing to his brother Theo about the idea: “I’ve had a letter from Wil [Van Gogh, the artist’s sister], in which she gives a quite charming description of the countryside at Nuenen. It does seem to be really beautiful there. I’ve asked her for more information on one or two points about the weavers, who especially interest me… In the meantime, I don’t need to paint weavers, although sooner or later I hope I’ll get around to that” (Letter 261, 9 September 1882, in L. Jansen, H. Luijten and N. Bakker, eds., Vincent van Gogh: The Letters. The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, London, 2009, vol. 2, p. 147).
While the Dutch province of Brabant had been celebrated since medieval times for the quality of its textiles, the emergence of industrialized manufacturing in the nineteenth century and intense competition from England threatened the network of highly skilled, rural artisans that made up this local industry. At the end of 1883 Van Gogh joined his family in Nuenen, where his father was a local pastor, and the artist took the opportunity to immerse himself in this community of weavers, experiencing their everyday routines and work first hand. Van Gogh was deeply sympathetic to the plight of these independent artisans, and through his drawings, watercolors and oil paintings depicting weavers at work, he captured a glimpse of a traditional way of life that was quickly eroding in the face of progress.
For Van Gogh, the beauty of this theme lay in part in the interaction between humans and the machine—he was fascinated with the grand looms that filled the small spaces in which the weavers worked, and they swiftly became important characters within his paintings, as central to his creative vision as the workers themselves. To this end, he often sought out the oldest and most technologically complex examples he could find, describing every knob, beam and strut of the loom, allowing the combination of horizontals, verticals and interlocking elements to take center stage within his compositions. Van Gogh frequently found it difficult to stand back far enough within these cramped, bustling workspaces in order to sketch the entire contraption, but in a letter to Theo from the end of April 1884, he described his great satisfaction at capturing the impressive, imposing character of the machines: “I’ll have a lot more hard graft on those looms—but in reality the things are such almighty, beautiful affairs—all that old oak against a grayish wall—that I certainly believe it’s right that they should be painted” (Letter no. 445, 30 April 1884; in ibid., vol. 3, p. 147).
Between January and May 1884 Van Gogh completed seven oil paintings and nearly twenty drawings and watercolors depicting the weaver—of the oil paintings, three are now held in museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. These were followed by a second group of works that summer continuing the subject, as well as several scenes of craftspeople spinning thread. Dating from the early months of the artist’s engagement with the theme, Wever naar rechts gekeerd focuses on a diligent weaver in the midst of his work, capturing his intense concentration as he guides the machine, monitoring the overlapping and intertwining threads as he builds an intricate pattern. Van Gogh describes the scene in loose, flowing brushstrokes, the pitch of the floor seeming to echo the curving forms of the loom, with bright accents of color interspersed throughout, from the touch of scarlet along the upper stretches of the loom, to the dashes of soft green that describe the play of light across the heavy wooden structure.

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