Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sotheby's To Sell One of the Greatest van Gogh Landscapes Remaining in Private Hands

Sotheby's To Sell One of the Greatest van Gogh Landscapes Remaining in Private Hands

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Vincent van Gogh, The Fields (Wheat Fields), June-July 1890, Est. $28/35 million. © Sotheby's Images.

NEW YORK.- On the evening of November 7, 2007, Sotheby’s New York will offer for sale one of the greatest landscapes by Vincent van Gogh remaining in private hands, The Fields (Wheat Fields). Painted in June-July of 1890, in the final weeks of the artist’s life, this stunning and poignant canvas is estimated to sell for $28/35 million. Prior to its exhibition and sale in New York in November, the painting will be on view at Sotheby’s offices in Hong Kong (October 2-4) and London (October 7-12).

David Norman, Executive Vice President, a Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, said, “I first saw this painting years ago when it was hanging amongst the epic late landscapes installed in the penultimate room at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The straightforward composition, with no mediating figures or structures, emanates a sense of pure joy and truthfulness that draws the viewer wholly into the scene. Before this work, one intuits that in the face of towering self-doubt and loneliness, van Gogh found salvation in the presence of nature and through the transmission of that experience with each stroke of his paint-laden brush. To quietly stand before this painting is as close as we can come to standing beside the artist himself.”

The Fields (Wheat Fields) belongs to a celebrated series of spectacular canvases painted in early July 1890. The sprawling, golden wheat field in Auvers-sur-Oise was the subject that captured the artist’s imagination during these final weeks of his life. Looking out over the rolling hills of this fragrant countryside, he set up his easel and painted the expanse of wild flowers and long sheaves rustling in the breeze. None of the turmoil that the artist was wrestling with in his inner life is evident in this glorious picture, which reads as a vibrant celebration of the richness of the land and the beauty of France.

Van Gogh’s final months were spent at the Ravoux Inn in Auvers, and the present canvas was among the works that hung in his room at the time of his death. His brother, Theo, was so moved by the picture that it was kept in the family for nearly twenty years before being sold in 1907 through the dealer Paul Cassirer in 1907. From 2001-2007, this masterwork was on loan to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where it hung alongside a series of deeply moving and poignant landscapes painted in the final year of the artist’s life.

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