Lot 194
  • 194

VINCENT VAN GOGH | Couple Walking and Still Life: Can, Books, Wineglass, Bread and Arum - rectoSketch of Two Women - verso

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Couple Walking and Still Life: Can, Books, Wineglass, Bread and Arum - rectoSketch of Two Women - verso
  • pencil on paper
  • 44.5 by 27.4cm., 17 1/2 by 10 7/8 in.
  • Drawn in Auvers in 1890.


Dr Paul Gachet, Auvers
Marlborough Gallery, New York
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York
Knoedler & Co., New York (sale: Sotheby's, London, 22nd June 1966, lot 4)
Private Collection, New York (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection (acquired in 1976)
Private Collection, New York (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 23rd October 1980, lot 304)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


New York, Wildenstein & Co., Van Gogh, 1955, no. 109


Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh, New York, 1970, no. 1650, illustrated p. 246 (recto verso)
Jacob-Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, The Complete Works on Paper, Catalogue raisonné, San Francisco, 1992, vol. I, no. 1950, p. 180; illustrated vol. II, pl. CCXLII
Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh, Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Philadelphia, 1996, no. 2073, verso illustrated p. 473
Marije Vellekoop, Roelie Zwikker & Monique Hageman, Vincent Van Gogh Drawings, Arles Saint-Rémy & Auvers-sur-Oise, 1888-1890, Amsterdam, 2007, vol. IV, no. 61, illustrated p. 41


Executed on cream laid paper, not laid down. The sheet is affixed to the overmount with tape in five places. The upper and right edges are unevenly cut. There is some uniform time-staining to the sheet and some very minor discoloration along the edges due to a previous mount. Recto: There are some faint flattened creases running vertically along the left edge, which do not detract from the overall impression of the work; these are also visible on the verso. There are some very minor spots of foxing in places. There is a tiny spot of paper abrasion towards the left edge, within the lower left quadrant. Verso: There are old adhesive stains visible in all four corners. There are some small spots of foxing in places. This work is in overall 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

Executed in Auvers in 1890, the present work is one of the last drawings Van Gogh would create. After his stay at the asylum in Saint-Rémy, the artist had moved to the French commune of Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris for recovery the same year. He fell in love with the environs and found he could see the northern landscape more clearly after having lived in the South of France. This was a period of intense creative output, and Van Gogh would create over fifty drawings of farmhouses, workers, still lifes and animals. After experiencing difficulty finding models in his early career, Van Gogh found locals here eagerly willing to pose for him, and their everyday work and domestic activities became an important source of inspiration. Van Gogh sought to depict peasants as if he were an insider. Writing to his brother Theo, the famed Paris-based art dealer, Van Gogh remarked that 'peasants painted by city-dwellers inevitably reminded one of the Paris suburbs,' and went on to describe his preference for living among peasants and sharing in their simple lifestyle (quoted in Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten & Nienke Bakker, Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, London, 2009, vol. III, no. 400).  

In this double-sided work, Van Gogh’s varied use of indicative pencil strokes and choice of subject matter makes the drawing a fascinating glimpse into his creative process. 'What is drawing' Van Gogh asked in an 1882 letter to his brother Theo, 'How does one get there? It is working one's way through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. How can one get through that wall-since hammering on it doesn't help at all? In my view, one must undermine the wall and grind through it slowly and patiently' (ibid., no. 274).

The first owner of the present work was Dr Paul Gachet, who treated Van Gogh while he lived in Auvers. He was a patron of Impressionist artists and amassed one of the largest collections of modern art of his time.

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.