‘Head of a Peasant Woman’: Vincent van Gogh self-portrait found hidden on back of painting | Culture


Vincent van Gogh painted with frenzy and on any materials he might get his fingers on. When he ran out of cash to purchase canvas, or whereas ready for supplies from his brother, Theo, to reach, he painted on tablecloths and tea towels. He additionally made use of work he had already accomplished. And that’s precisely the place a beforehand unknown self-portrait of the artist has been found: on the again of his work Head of a Peasant Girl (1885). The entrance of the canvas options an oil portray of a younger girl, and the again is a self-portrait Van Gogh painted two years later. The picture was coated beneath a thick layer of glue and cardboard, and was solely found due to an X-ray examination by consultants from the Nationwide Galleries of Scotland, which has had the portray in its assortment since 1960.

The invention occurred by likelihood, whereas the portray was being researched for an exhibition referred to as A Style for Impressionism, which is able to now characteristic the X-ray photographs of the self-portrait alongside Head of a Peasant Girl. As soon as the exhibition ends, the museum’s restorers will attempt to recuperate the self-portrait. Frances Fowle, a senior curator, advised the British press that this course of should be executed fastidiously and slowly.

Louis van Tilborgh, a Van Gogh specialist in Amsterdam, has no doubts in regards to the authenticity of the self-portrait. As a veteran researcher and specialist within the work of his compatriot, he factors out on the telephone that “it suits right into a form of sequence, as a result of Van Gogh has not less than eight work by which he painted himself on the reverse facet of the canvas.” In accordance with Van Tilborgh, the artist ready the canvases, “in order that he might paint from behind, which provides them added worth, inventive and emotional worth after all. Work like this one, present in Scotland, belong to public collections, so it’s not for me to speak about financial worth.”

Consultants on the Nationwide Galleries of Scotland estimate that the layers of glue and cardboard had been placed on the portray round 1905. Right now, the work was being ready for an exhibition on the Stedelijk Museum, in Amsterdam, and the face of the peasant will need to have been thought-about extra fascinating – and full – than the self-portrait, which seems unfinished. In accordance with information supplied by the Nationwide Galleries of Scotland, Head of a Peasant Girl was acquired in 1923 by Evelyn Saint Croix Fleming, the mom of James Bond creator Ian Flemming, and got here to the gallery in 1960.

The younger mannequin for Van Gogh’s portray might have been Gordina de Groot, nicknamed Sien, who seems among the many diners within the portray The Potato Eaters, additionally from 1885. In 1887, the date attributed to hidden self-portrait, Van Gogh had come into contact with the work of impressionists corresponding to Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin. His fashion and use of shade modified thereafter, and lightweight flooded his work.

Van Gogh’s devotion to artwork endowed his works with a specific depth. A devotion that, collectively together with his psychological and well being issues, ultimately led him to the Saint-Rémy de Provence asylum, in southeastern France. He admitted himself into the psychological well being facility in 1889, after reducing off his ear in an episode of psychosis. Regardless of his psychological well being issues, Van Gogh painted many works whereas on the asylum. Only one yr later, nevertheless, he moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, a city close to Paris, the place he’s believed to have shot himself within the chest.

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