Lot 16
  • 16

Vincent van Gogh

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 GBP
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Un Coin de jardin à Arles
  • signed Vincent (lower left)
  • reed pen and brown ink and pencil on paper with the artist's marbleised paper fictive frame
  • 24.2 by 31.6cm.
  • 9 1/2 by 12 1/2 in.


Emile Bernard (a gift from the artist on 15th July 1888)

Julien Tanguy, Paris (acquired from the above by 1892)

Johan Rohde, Copenhagen (acquired from the above in 1892)

Mrs Asa Johan Rohde, Copenhagen (by descent from the above. Sold by her estate: Sotheby's, London, 6th July 1960, lot 160)

M.F. Feheley, Toronto (sold: Sotheby's, London, 28th June 1972, lot 5)

J.S. Lewis, New York (purchased at the above sale)

Wildenstein & Co., New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in June 2009


Copenhagen, Halmtorv, Frie udstilling, 1893, no. 197

Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Fransk Kunst, Maleri og Skulptur fra det 19. og 20. Aarhundrede, 1945, no. 113 (titled Landsskabstudie. Motiv fra Arles)

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh in Arles, 1984, no. 72, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Garden with Weeping Tree)

Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Van Gogh, 2000, no. 65, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Jardin à l'arbre pleureur)

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum & New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings, 2005, no. 88, illustrated in colour in the catalogue, illustrated as an infrared reflectogram in the catalogue

London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters, 2010, no. 103, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled The Garden: A Corner of a Garden in the Place Lamartine)


Jacob-Baart de la Faille, L'Œuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue raisonné, Paris & Brussels, 1928, vol. III, no. 1450, catalogued p. 137; vol. IV, no. 1450, illustrated pl. CLVII

Johan Rohde, Journal fra en Rejse i 1892, Copenhagen, 1955, illustrated p. 89

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, no. F1450, illustrated p. 507

Paolo Lecaldano, Tout l'œuvre peint de Van Gogh, Paris, 1971, vol. II, no. 571B, illustrated p. 212

Mark W. Roskill, ‘Van Gogh's exchanges of work with Emile Bernard in 1888’, in Oud Holland, vol. 86, Issue 1, 1971, illustrated p. 145 (titled A Park in Arles)

Charles W. Millard, 'A Chronology for Van Gogh's Drawings of 1888’, in Master Drawings, XII, no. 2, 1974, discussed pp. 160-164 

Jan Hulsker, 'The Poet’s Garden’, in Vincent. Bulletin of the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, no. 1, 1974, illustrated p. 23

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1980, no. 1509, illustrated p. 344

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1984, no. 1509, illustrated p. 344 (titled Newly Mowed Lawn with Weeping Tree)

Gauguin og van Gogh i Kobenhavn i 1893 (exhibition catalogue), Ordrupgaardsamlingen, Copenhagen, 1984, no. 64, illustrated p. 115

Susan Alyson Stein (ed.), Van Gogh: A Retrospective, New York, 1986, illustrated p. 290 (titled Garden with Weeping Tree)

Van Gogh et Arles, Exposition du Centenaire (exhibition catalogue), Ancien Hôpital Van Gogh, Arles, 1989, mentioned p. 48

Vincent van Gogh, Drawings (exhibition catalogue), Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, 1990, mentioned pp. 231 & 238

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works on Paper, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1992, vol. I, no. 1450, catalogued p. 378; vol. II, no. 1450, illustrated pl. CLVII 

Liesbeth Heenk, Vincent van Gogh's Drawings, An Analysis of Their Production and Uses, London, 1995, mentioned pp. 170, 171 & 240

Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1996, no. 1509, illustrated p. 344 (titled Newly Mowed Lawn with Weeping Tree)

Marije Vellekoop & Roelie Zwikker, Vincent van Gogh, Drawings, Amsterdam, 2007, vol. 4, p. 86

Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker (eds.), Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, London, 2009, vol. 4, illustrated in colour pp. 176, 305 & 307

Catalogue Note

Van Gogh’s Un Coin de jardin à Arles belongs to a group of fifteen drawings executed in the early summer months of 1888 which he sent to his friend Emile Bernard in a burst of intense creativity which now provides a succinct impression of his increasing artistic confidence and ambition.

Bernard and Van Gogh had met during the latter’s stay in Paris in 1889-87 and quickly cemented a strong friendship. They kept up an animated correspondence when they went their separate ways, exchanging ideas about painting and eventually works of art themselves. Bernard sent Van Gogh a group of pen and ink sketches in the Spring of 1888 and Van Gogh responded with a selection of his own drawings, sending an initial group of six on the 15th July (including the present work) and sending a further group of nine a few days later. Un Coin de jardin à Arles was the pre-eminent work among these and the only one that van Gogh referred to explicitly in his letters. He also emphasised its importance in the way he presented it to Bernard; Susan Alyson Stein describes how Van Gogh, ‘often gave thought to the presentation of his works – even those being shown informally to friends or family’, going on to explain how in the case of the present work, ‘he affixed a marbleized paper border, giving the motif – which he had already singled out by mentioning it in his cover letter – the distinction of having a frame, albeit a makeshift one, apparently cobbled together from bits of book endpapers, portfolio or wrapping paper’ (S. A. Stein in Vincent Van Gogh. The Drawings, op. cit., p. 272).

The subject of Un Coin de jardin à Arles was obviously of some fascination to Van Gogh, who described it to his brother Theo in a letter written around 5th July 1888: ‘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’ (Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, op. cit., vol. IV, letter no. 636, p. 160). 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 the Australian painter John Peter Russell. The present view directly relates to the oil painting Pelouse ensoleillée: Jardin public de la Place Lamartine and the garden appears again from a slightly different viewpoint in Le Jardin du Poète which is now in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago.

The drawings were executed after the oil and in sending them to his brother and friends Van Gogh hoped to offer a snapshot of the themes and concerns he was pursuing in his painting. However, these pen and ink drawings had an appeal for the artist that was separate to their relationship with his oil painting; as he observed in a letter of 1883, working in this way, ‘makes it possible to put effects on paper in a relatively short time which would lose something of what people call their ‘spontaneity’ if done in another way’ (Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, op. cit., vol. II, letter no. 307, p. 255). That spontaneity is immediately apparent in the present work which combines a remarkable control and concision in the handling with a vivid sense of the moment in an exquisite example of Van Gogh’s work in this medium.  

This work has been requested for the exhibition Van Gogh and Japan to be held at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam from August 2017 - June 2018.