Lot 9
  • 9

Vincent van Gogh

350,000 - 450,000 GBP
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • View from the Window of Vincent's Studio in Winter
  • gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper
  • 40 by 59.5cm.
  • 15 3/4 by 23 1/8 in.


C. van Deinse, The Hague 

Hendricus Petrus Bremmer, The Hague (1937-1956)

Floris Bremmer, The Hague (by descent from the above)

Private Collection, Switzerland

Sale: Habsburg & Feldman, New York, 12th November 1989, lot 18

Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Paris, Nouveaux Musées, Quai de Tokyo, Vincent van Gogh, Sa Vie et son Œuvre, Exposition Internationale, 1937, no. 64

The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Verzameling H. P. Bremmer, 1950, no. 50

Antwerp, Zaal Comite voor Artisticke Werking, Vincent van Gogh en sijn Hollandse Tijogenoten, 1955, no. 9

Essen, Villa Hügel, Vincent van Gogh, Leben und Schaffen, Dokumentation, Gemälde, Zeichnungen, 1957, no. 158

Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, Vincent van Gogh, 1960, no. 77 (titled Dégel and as dating from March 1882)

Munich, Städtische Galerie, Vincent van Gogh, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 1961, no. 27

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. 107, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 131, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 133, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La Passion du Dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 171, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Vienna, Albertina, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 122, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Munich, Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 133, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Vienna, Albertina, Van Gogh. Heartfelt Lines, 2008, no. 3, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters, 2010, no. 11, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Jacob-Baart de la Faille, L'Œuvre de Vincent van Gogh, catalogue raisonné, Paris & Brussels, 1928, vol. III, no. 1022, catalogued p. 46; vol. IV, no. 1022, illustrated pl. XLIX (titled Dégel and with incorrect medium)

Walther Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche periode in het werk van Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam & Antwerp, 1937, pp. 102-103, 204 & 409

René Huyghe & Philippe Jaccottet, Le dessin français au XIXe siècle, Lausanne, 1948, illustrated p. 118

Jan Hulsker, Bulletin Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 2-13

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, London, 1970, no. F1022, illustrated p. 379 (with incorrect medium)

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Oxford, 1977, no. 344, illustrated p. 83 (titled Snowy Yard and with incorrect medium)

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1984, no. 344, illustrated p. 83 (titled Snowy Yard and with incorrect medium)

Michel van der Mast (ed.), Van Gogh en Den Haag, The Hague, 1990, no. 24, illustrated p. 27

Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh. Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1996, no. 344, illustrated p. 83 (titled Snowy Yard and with incorrect medium)


Executed on white laid paper, laid down on Japan paper which is hinged to the mount in the upper corners. There are remnants of tape from previous mounting along the reverse of the edges. The edges have been unevenly cut and there are artist's pinholes at the top edge and in the lower right corner. The lower left corner has been replaced and also has a triangular supported tear running across the red and white pigment, with corresponding retouching visible under ultra-violet light. There is a flattened crease in the upper left corner. Apart from some fading to the ink and some discolouration mainly visible in the light pigments, this work is in good condition. Colours: Overall fairly accurate in the printed catalogue illustration, although the background, particularly in the sky, has a slightly less green tonality in the original.
"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

The present work depicts the view from Van Gogh's attic window overlooking the roof tops of The Hague. The artist executed this composition during the winter of 1882-83, nearly a year after having moved to The Hague from his parents' home in Brabant. One of the few commissions Van Gogh received during this period was from his uncle Cor, a local art dealer, who requested from his nephew a series of townscapes of The Hague. The artist did not look for the subject for this series among the traditional monuments of the city, but instead focused on sites that were all near his home at 136 Schenkweg in the neighbourhood of the Rijnspoor Railway Station (fig. 2). Cor was quite pleased with the results of his nephew's undertaking, and requested a second series of drawings of similar subjects. These townscapes became the artist's primary theme during his time in The Hague. 


Van Gogh sketched several of these compositions from the window in his home, which overlooked a carpenter's workshop and a laundry to the coal shed, the engine shed and the workshops of the Rijnspoor. These sites are depicted frequently in most of his production from 1882, including a richly detailed view completed in July 1882 (fig. 3) and two other related drawings. These elevated depictions of his neighbourhood continued to fascinate the artist throughout the year, and the present work is a beautiful example of the theme with snow blanketing the surrounding area. In July 1882 Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo: ‘So you must imagine me sitting at my attic window as early as 4 o’clock, studying the meadows and the carpenter’s yard with my perspective frame – as the fires are lit in the court to make coffee, and the first worker ambles into the yard. Over the red tiled roofs comes a flock of white pigeons flying between the black smoking chimneys. But behind this an infinity of delicate, gentle green, miles and miles of flat meadow, and a grey sky as still, as peaceful as Corot or Van Goyen’ (Van Gogh in Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker (ed.), Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, London, 2009, vol. 2, letter no. 250, p. 116).


One of the advantages of this new city for Van Gogh was its artistic life, filled with the activities of artists, art societies, art dealers and all of the other prerequisites of a young artist looking to make his way in the world. But as it turned out, he had a difficult time acclimatising to life in The Hague, finding it hard to ingratiate himself with dealers and make friends. His disappointment is clearly stated in a letter which he wrote to Theo around this time: ‘I sometimes think back to a year ago when I came to this city. I imagined that the painters here would form a sort of circle or society in which warmth and open-heartedness and a certain unity would prevail. To me that was in the nature of things, and I didn’t know that it could be different’ (ibid., letter no. 297, p. 228).

For many of these depictions of The Hague, Van Gogh began with pencil, continued with pen and ink, and then applied large washes of watercolour. The present work is a fine example of how he was able to harness the colour potential of this medium. Discussing Van Gogh's use of watercolour, Johannes van der Wolk has noted its importance in the artist's production throughout his life: ‘In fact, van Gogh never entirely gave up painting in watercolour. He never became a watercolourist in the traditional sense of the term, however, for apart from a few exceptions he preferred to use watercolour as his body colour rather than transparently. It seems that as a rule he liked to use watercolour as a means to colour in a composition rather to build up a picture with it. Entirely in line with this somewhat aloof attitude towards the medium of watercolour, when making watercolour drawings, he was not only concerned with the technique itself, but particularly also with compositional problems’ (J. van der Wolk, Vincent van Gogh, Drawings (exhibition catalogue), Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, 1990, p. 69).