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
150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Couple Walking and Still Life: Can, Books, Wineglass, Bread and Arum - rectoSketch of Two Women - verso
  • pencil on paper


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

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.