Lot 8
  • 8

Vincent van Gogh

5,000,000 - 7,000,000 USD
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls
  • Signed Vincent (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 20 1/8 by 15 3/8 in
  • 51.2 by 38.8 cm


Théodore Duret, Paris

Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired from the above in March 1912)

Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris Alden Brooks, Paris (acquired by 1928)

Private Collection, Los Angeles (and sold: Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, May 18, 1983, lot 35)

Elwin Litchfield Phillips Jr., Jacksonville, Florida (acquired at the above sale and sold by the Estate: Sotheby’s, New York, May 11, 1999, lot 129)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Berlin, 24. Ausstellung der Berliner Secession, 1912, no. 80 (titled Blumenstilleben)

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Vincent van Gogh, 1914, no. 13 (titled Blumen)


Der Kunstwanderer, 7.Jahrgang, 1925, 1./2. Oktoberheft, page 75

Jakob-Baart de la Faille, L'Epoque française de Van Gogh, Paris, 1927, illustrated p. 93

Jakob-Baart de la Faille, L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue raisonné: dessins - aquarelles-lithographies, Paris and Brussels, 1928, vol. I, no. 248, catalogued p. 73; vol. II, no. 248, illustrated pl. LXVIII

Jakob-Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, New York, 1939, no. 343, illustrated p. 254

Paolo Lecaldano, L'Opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh e i suoi nessi grafici: Da Etten a Parigi, Milan, 1966, vol. I, no. 301, illustrated p. 110

Jakob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh. His Paintings and Drawings, London,1970, no. F 248, illustrated p. 126

Jan Hulsker, The Complete van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1980, no. 1146, illustrated p. 251

Walter Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin, Amsterdam, 1988, illustrated p.85

Ingo Walter & Rainer Metzger, Vincent van Gogh, The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 1990, vol. I, illustrated in color p. 167

Giovanni Testori & Luisa Arrigoni, Van Gogh: catalogo completo dei dipinti, Florence, 1991, no. 311, illustrated p. 136

Jan Hulsker, The New Complete van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, no. 1146, illustrated, p. 251

Walter Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh, The Years in France, Complete Paintings 1886-1890, New York, 2013, illustrated in color p. 52

Catalogue Note

Bursting with vivid hues of red, orange and yellow, Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls exemplifies the genius of Van Gogh during one of the most transformative periods of his career. The present composition was painted in the summer of 1886 in Paris. Unable to support himself in Antwerp, Van Gogh traveled to Paris to stay with his brother Theo in a small apartment on the rue Laval in Montmartre. In a letter to their mother Theo wrote about the progress of Vincent’s paintings since his arrival in the French capital stating: “He is mainly painting flowers with the object to put a more lively colour into his next set of pictures. He is also more cheerful than in the past and people like him here. To give you proof: hardly a day passes that he is not asked to go to the studios of well-known painters, or they come to see him. He also has acquaintances who give him a bunch of flowers every week which may serve him as models. If we are to keep it up, I think his difficult times are over and he will be able to make it by himself” (Theo van Gogh, quoted in J. Hulsker, Vincent and Theo van Gogh: A Dual Biography, Ann Arbor, 1990, p. 232).

During his two-year stay in Paris from 1886 to 1888 Van Gogh was introduced to the latest developments in art and to several of the most innovative painters working in Paris, including Signac, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bernard. When Van Gogh arrived in Paris in late February 1886, he had never seen an Impressionist picture as works by Monet, Degas, Pissarro and the other Impressionists were not exhibited in the Netherlands until 1888. With the encouragement and company of his brother, Van Gogh frequented the many cafés and taverns where he exchanged both ideas and canvases with his new circle of friends. The city also offered him several opportunities to view the critically acclaimed works of the Impressionists, whose paintings were most notably featured at their eighth and final group exhibition in 1886. Van Gogh rapidly absorbed all of the disparate artistic styles and techniques pioneered by the Parisian avant-garde, and quickly formulated his own highly distinctive pictorial language. The shock and admiration of these once unfamiliar artists and their techniques had a dramatic impact on Van Gogh. Surrounded by artists, dancers, musicians, actors and writers in Montmartre, Van Gogh abandoned the dark palette that dominated many of his early paintings in Holland and replaced it with a newfound love of color. New techniques, styles and colors introduced by artists such as Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin soon replaced Van Gogh’s somber palette modeled after Dutch masters.

In a letter to his friend, the English painter Horace Mann Livens, Van Gogh referred to the artists he admired and the effect they had on his work: ''In Antwerp I did not even know what the Impressionist were, now I have seen them and though not being one of the club yet I have much admired certain impressionist 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 colour studies in painting, simply flowers, red poppies, blue corn flowers and myosotys. White and rose roses, yellow chrysanthemums - seeking oppositions of blue with orange, red and green, yellow and violet seeking the broken and neutral tones to harmonize brutal extremes. Trying to render intense colour and not a grey harmony'' (Vincent van Gogh, The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, Amsterdam, 2009, vol. III, letter 569, p. 364).

Teeming with newfound coloration, Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls is one of the earliest examples of the vibrant floral still-lifes that would come to define Van Gogh’s oeuvre. The artist’s still-lifes have become some of the most recognizable images in the history of modern art and inspired future generations of artists such as Chaïm Soutine who devoted a series of canvases to gladioli (circa 1919), and the contemporary Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie. Ghenie’s The Sunflowers in 1937 (2014) is a homage to Van Gogh’s renowned Sunflower series. Executed on a monumental scale, the composition mirrors the brilliant tonalities of Van Gogh. Ghenie’s remarkable work is a testament to the unique and imaginative style Van Gogh developed during his Paris years, and the enduring power of his imagery for generations that followed.

The present work is distinguished by important early provenance. The first owner on record of Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls was Théodore Duret, the renowned French journalist and art critic. Duret was one of the first advocates of Impressionism and served as an advisor and buying agent for the one of the most important American patrons of Impressionist art, Louisine Havemeyer. The second owner of the present work was Paul Cassirer, the German art dealer who played a significant role in the promotion of the French Impressionist & Post-Impressionist artists. Cassirer was particularly important to the legacy of Van Gogh in Europe. After visiting Julien Leclercq’s retrospective of Van Gogh’s work in 1901, Cassirer included five works by the artist in an exhibition of the Berlin Secession further enhancing the artist's legacy.