Lot 125
  • 125

Vincent van Gogh

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Back yards with two figures
  • charcoal on paper
  • 23.9 by 35.2cm., 9 3/8 by 13 3/4 in.


C.M. Van Gogh Art Gallery, The Hague
J.H. de Bois Art Gallery, Haarlem
Mrs L. Jaray-Bondi, Vienna & London (acquired in 1938)
Private Collection, New York
Galerie St. Etienne (Otto Kallir), New York (acquired in 1953)
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, 10th May 1989, lot 120
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Haarlem, J.H. de Bois Art Gallery, 1936, no. 15
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Masters of the Nineteenth Century, 1955, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Van Gogh, Loan Exhibition, 1955, no. 82
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, European and American Landscapes, 1985
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin & Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 106, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La passion du dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 132, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 46, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Jacob Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. 939a, illustrated p. 351
Jan Hulsker, The Complete van Gogh, Paintings-Drawings-Sketches, New York, 1980, no. 120, illustrated p. 37
Philip Rylands, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection (exhibition catalogue), Berlin, 1999, illustrated p. 418


Executed on cream laid paper, not laid down, t-hinged to the mount along the upper edge, and floating in the mount. There is a pin hole to the upper left corner and the upper, left and right edges are slightly unevenly cut. The sheet is time stained and there are some foxing marks visible along the upper edge.There is a repaired tear to the upper right corner, the upper left edge and a repaired paper loss to the centre of the lower edge. Overall, this work is in 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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In 1882, following a particularly heated argument with his father, Vincent van Gogh left his family home in Etten and established himself in a small studio on the outskirts of The Hague. Many of the letters which van Gogh wrote to his brother during this time are preserved in the Van Gogh Museum and offer a remarkable insight into the sense of liberation that the artist felt on relocating to The Hague. In one letter he notes ‘I think it’s wonderful to be in The Hague, and I find no end of beautiful things and I must try and depict some of them’ (Letter 194, dated 29th December 1881). The present work was executed circa 1882, and chimes with many of the drawings which van Gogh made of the view from his window and scenes from walks in outlying fields. He achieves a wonderful sense of depth by subdividing the space with the fence poles and clotheslines, and punctuating the receding distance by placing the child in the white Dutch bonnet in the foreground and a stooping woman in the middle ground. The pastoral image is imbued with a sense of peace and reflects the comfort that van Gogh found in his surroundings: ‘despite all the emotion, I feel a certain calm […] there is safety in the midst of danger’ (ibid.).