Lot 10
  • 10

Vincent van Gogh

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 USD
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Coin de parc
  • Signed Vincent (lower left)
  • Reed pen and ink with traces of pencil on paper
  • 12 1/2 by 9 1/2 in.
  • 31.7 by 24.2 cm


John Russell, Belle-Ile-en Mer (acquired from the artist in 1888 and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 31, 1920, lot 65)

Galerie Le Garrec, Paris

Kunsthandel d’Audretsch, The Hague

Galerie Lutz, Berlin

Sale: Amsler & Ruthardt, Berlin, (Sammlung D.L.), October 29, 1925, lot 247

Galerie Van Diemen, Berlin

Thannhauser Galleries, New York

Josef von Sternberg, Hollywood (and sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, November 22, 1949, lot 28)

Rudolf Sieber, California (acquired at the above sale)

Josef von Sternberg, Hollywood

Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zürich (acquired from the above in 1963)

Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (acquired at the above in 1965)

Audrey Sheldon, New York (and sold by the Estate: Christie's, New York, October 22, 1980, lot 328)

Private Collection, New York (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 6, 1991, lot 12)

Private Collection, New York

Sale: Sotheby's, London, June 27, 1995, lot 10

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Hamburg, Galerie Commeter, Französische Malerie des 19, und 20 Jahrhunderts, 1927, no. 53

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Exhibition of the von Sternberg Collection, 1935

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Collection of Josef von Sternberg, 1943, no. 164, illustrated in the catalogue

Chicago, The Arts Club of Chicago, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings from the Josef von Sternberg Collection, November 1946, no. 35

New York, Wildenstein & Co, Inc., From Bosch to Klee, 1974, n.n. (listed as drawing 23795)

Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art; New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Art Gallery & Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery, Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art, 1854-1910, 1975-76, no. 192, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh in Arles, 1984, no. 79, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Martigny, Switzerland, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Van Gogh, 2000, no. 67, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Jardin à l'arbre pleureur

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum & New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh, Master Draughtsman, 2005, no. 116, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled A Corner of a Garden in Place Lamartine)

London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and his Letters, 2010, no. 102, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled A Corner of a Garden in the Place Lamartine)


Jacob Baart de la Faille, L’Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue raisonné, Paris & Brussels, 1928, no. 1449, vol. III, p. 137 & vol. IV illustrated pl. CLVI

Henry Thannhauser, "Van Gogh and John Russell: Some Unknown Letters and Drawings" in The Burlington Magazine, LXXIII, London, September 1938, no. 176, cited p. 104

Jacob Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. F1449, illustrated p. 507 (titled View in the Park)

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, London, 1980, no. 1534, illustrated p. 351 (titled Lawn with Weeping Tree)

Vincent van Gogh Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 1985, illustrated in the catalogue p. 167 (titled Garden with Weeping Tree)

Jacob Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works on Paper, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1992, no. 1449, vol. I, p. 377; vol. II, illustrated pl. CLVI

Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings and Sketches, Revised and Enlarged Edition of the Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 1534, illustrated p. 351 (titled Lawn with Weeping Tree)

Marije Vellekoop, Roelie Zwikker & Monique Hageman, Vincent Van Gogh Drawings, Volume 4, Arles, Saint-Rémy & Auvers-sur-Oise, London, 2007, mentioned p. 86 & illustrated p. 165 (titled Grassy Area with Weeping Tree

Ann Galbally, A Remarkable Friendship: Vincent van Gogh and John Peter Russell, Melbourne, 2008, mentioned p. 249

Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker, The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, London, 2009, vol. IV, illustrated in color p. 215 (titled Lawn with a Weeping Tree)

Catalogue Note

Please note the present work has been requested by the Van Gogh Museum for a major exhibition on Van Gogh and Japan to be held in Amsterdam and Japan in 2017-2018.

Van Gogh’s Coin de parc belongs to a group of drawings executed between July 31 and August 3, 1888, in a burst of intense creativity which now provides a succinct impression of his increasing artistic confidence and ambition. Determined to persuade his friend John Peter Russell, the Australian painter, to purchase one of his oils, Van Gogh produced twelve ink drawings based on the compositions of his most recent and successful paintings and sent them to Russell in Brittany. The motif of the present work is related to an oil painting of early July, Pelouse ensoleillée, but is in fact an original composition, unlike the other eleven drawings in the group. The subject was obviously of some fascination to Van Gogh, who described it to his brother Theo in a letter written around July 5th: “Here is a new subject. A corner of a garden with clipped shrubs and a weeping tree, and in the background some clumps of oleanders. And the lawn just cut with some long trails of hay drying in the sun, and a little corner of blue-green sky at the top” (The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1959, no. 508). The motif, which was taken from one of the gardens in the Place Lamartine which Van Gogh could see from the Yellow House, was repeated in two further drawings, one included in a letter to Theo and another which was sent to Émile Bernard. The garden reappeared in a greatly transformed state two months later in Le Jardin du Poète.

Though Van Gogh admired Russell’s paintings, he also thought of him as a potential collector, blessed as he was by independent means. As he wrote to Theo on July 31: “I am working hard for Russell, I thought that I would do him a series of drawings after my painted studies; I believe that he will look upon them kindly, and that, at least I hope so, will bring him to make a deal ... If we prod Russell, perhaps, he will take the Gauguin that you bought, and if there is no other way of helping Gauguin, what should be done? ... When I write him, sending the drawings, it will of course be to urge him to make up his mind. I have eight [drawings] and shall do twelve” (The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, op.cit., no. 516). Ronald Pickvance has described this group of drawings in the following words: “The twelve drawings for Russell also display stylistic characteristics distinct from the Bernard set. They are executed less hastily; as well as being more finished, they are more stylized. The major distinction lies in the prevalent use of the dot. Dots infest and overrun every sky; they also articulate the background and facial modelling in two drawings of heads” (R. Pickvance in Vincent van Gogh Drawings, Milan, 1990, p. 232).

In Coin de parc, Van Gogh’s wonderfully varied use of indicative pen strokes gives the drawing a greater sense of control and concision. The broad expanse of lawn in the horizontal compositions is defined by the braided forms of the cut grass whereas in the vertical drawing the space between the trees is suggested predominantly by scattered vertical strokes and dots. The bushes and trees are created through dense patterns of non-naturalistic strokes of the reed pen, varied in tone to define the spatial relationship of the branches. The trees on the right cast dense shadows indicating that the oil painting must have been painted at a different time of day. Even the upward sloping signature, painstakingly fitted in between blades of grass in the bottom left-hand corner, partakes of the delicate precision that characterizes this exceptional drawing.

The present work remained with John Peter Russell until 1920, when the work was consigned to auction by his son-in-law Paul Jouve, in order to raise funds for his return to Australia. The drawing was subsequently acquired by the Austro-American filmmaker Joseph von Sternberg, whose remarkable collection of modern paintings, drawings and sculpture was sold in 1949 at Parke Bernet in New York. Coin de parc was purchased from that sale by Rudolf Sieber, the husband of screen siren Marlene Dietrich.