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Femme dans un champ de blé
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About the item

Painted in 1887, Femme dans un champ de blé exemplifies Van Gogh’s stylistic experimentation following his exposure to the French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. On the advice of his brother Theo, Van Gogh moved to Paris in the Spring of 1886, to the popular area of Montmartre. Van Gogh made the most of the wealth of subjects that this new environment offered, as Belinda Thomson writes: "The Butte was a convenient location, as its popular windmills offered viewing platforms from which to enjoy panoramic views over the whole city. Socially too, Montmartre marked the raw junction between urban and rural life. The quarter was fast being colonised by artists’ studios and the entertainment world, dance halls, cheap brasseries, circuses. Yet, if one turned one’s back on the city, one confronted vineyards and market gardens, which provided a welcome reminder for Van Gogh of the scenes he had enjoyed painting at home" (B. Tomson, Van Gogh Paintings. The Masterpieces, London, 2007, pp. 47-48). He was exposed to the Parisian avant-garde from the outset – not least through his brother’s increasing involvement with the gallery Goupil & Cie – and though his earliest paintings of Montmartre show the same darker palette and more formal style that had defined his earlier works he soon began to absorb the influences of the artists working around him. His choice of subjects broadened to include both the typically Impressionist motif of the busy suburban world of the banks of the Seine, and consciously urban views of city, and his paintings reflect a new appreciation of color and light. Aware of this gradual change he wrote to his friend the English painter Horace M. Livens, "In Antwerp I did not even know what the impressionists were, now I have seen them and though not being one of the club yet I have much admired certain impressionists’ pictures – Degas nude figure – Claude Monet landscape. And now for what regards what I myself have been doing, I have lacked money for paying models else I had entirely given myself to figure painting. But I have made a series of color studies in painting… seeking oppositions of blue with orange, red and green, yellow and violet seeking les tons rompus et neutres to harmonize brutal extremes. Trying to render intense color and grey harmony… So as we said at the time: in color seeking life the true drawing is modelling with colour" (in The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, London, 1958, p. 513).\nVan Gogh’s arrival in Paris coincided with the development of Pointillism and he met Signac at Asnières in the Spring of 1887. Although this influence was significant, Van Gogh did not merely imitate his friend’s approach, as Belinda Tompson explains: "Neo-Impressionism’s method of analyzing light through the juxtaposition of complementary colors was based on color theory and quasi-scientific principles. Although the method makes an appearance in Van Gogh’s 1887 Paris work, he did not attempt to apply it systematically. For Van Gogh the dotting method has the secondary – and highly desirable – effect of unifying the painted surface… [and] short hatched parallel strokes became a hallmark of Van Gogh’s mature painting style, as did swift execution and heightened colour" (B. Tomson, op. cit., p. 62). Femme dans un champ de blé is painted with the vibrant and colorful brush strokes that Van Gogh developed at this time but the narrower viewpoint and relative simplicity of the composition allow him to fully explore the unifying effects of the Pointillist technique. Van Gogh experimented with a number of similar compositions at this time including Wheatfield with a Lark and Femme dans un jardin. In each of these the low or non-existent horizon and the abundance of vegetation allow Van Gogh to fill the canvas with a patchwork of deft, individual brushstrokes creating a wonderfully homogeneous plane of color. In Femme dans un champ de blé Van Gogh employs a mix of horizontal and vertical brushstrokes in bright blues, yellows and greens to create this effect, resulting in a painting that vividly captures the warmth and light of a spring day.
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Vincent van Gogh

condition

Very good condition. The canvas is lined. Under UV light, no retouches are visible in the composition. The surface has rich impasto, which is intact. According to the Van Gogh Museum, the perimeter of the canvas (¼ inch from the edges), was extended shortly after the artist's death, this extension in no way effects the central composition. Overall, the work is in very good condition. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

16 3/8 by 13 3/4 in.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Vincent van Gogh, 1901, no. 40 Basel, Kunsthalle, Vincent van Gogh, 1947, no. 41 New York, Wildenstein, Olympia's Progeny, French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, 1865-1905, 1965, no. 37, illustrated in the catalogue

literature

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, L’oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Paris & Brussels, 1928, vol. I,  no. 367,  catalogued p. 103; supplément, no. 367, illustrated p. pl. CI Jacob-Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1939, no. 367, illustrated p. p. 223 Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings, London, 1970, no. 367, illustrated p. 171 Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Oxford, 1980, no. 1261, illustrated p. 281 Ingo F. Walther & Rainer Metzger, Van Gogh, The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 1992, illustrated in color p. 228 Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh, Painting, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 1261, illustrated p. 281 Ingo F. Walther & Rainer Metzger, Van Gogh, The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 2001, illustrated in color p. 228

provenance

Amédée Schuffenecker, Clamart Ambroise Vollard, Paris Sale: Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, May 11, 1926, lot 42 Mrs. C. A. Polak, Zandvoort J. Hegnauer, Lausanne-Ouchy (by 1947) Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., New York (acquired in 1960) Acquired from the above in 1961

time_period

Painted in Paris in April – June 1887.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1853 - 1890


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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