Saturday, March 20, 2021

Van Gogh’s Scène de rue à Montmartre

 


I was lucky to go on Tuesday to a Sotheby’s preview of the the recently discovered Van Gogh landscape painted while he was briefly living in Paris for 2 years with his brother Theo in 1887.



From this distance you can see bumps in the canvas surface of a previous painting (in my opinion) though nothing was mentioned. Still artist materials have always been expensive and old canvases were reused for painting new pictures. *I stand corrected. There is no painting under this one.


A much closer detailed shot (we were happily not restrained by a velvet rope). See how deftly the figures are sketched in and left without too much detail adds a  vibrance to a rather somber scene. And notice the emerald green gateway and hints of pink in the wooden fencing. 


The first signs of bright color in Van Gogh’s paintings up till this point. He was deeply influenced by the brilliant color palettes of his new friends, Impressionists Lautrec, Emile Bernard, Paul Signac, Gauguin, Seurat, Monet, Pissarro.


Its easy to imagine how Van Gogh, like other Dutch artists in the 1880’s, was thrilled to visit Paris (like you will be when you return) here gazing at the wide boulevards from top l’Arc de Triomphe.

Back to Van Gogh’s Pepper mill/Moulin à Poivre, which he painted several times. Sadly, it no long exists.


How rough and stark Montmartre was back in the day. This hilly stretch of land called Le 
Maquis - a checkerboard of sheds, wooden fences and tiny garden plots. Not exactly a stunning  landscape to paint maybe in our eyes. 


Another view of the same pepper mill, again enlivened with his little figures. Put your fingers over them and you’ll miss the spot of complimentary red essential to all that blue-green and yellow ochre.



A whimsical doodle of an artist painting in a rooftop garret with Sacre Coeur on one side and the windmill on the other. Of course Van Gogh was paintings in the street. There was no room amongst brother Theo’s young family to paint inside on rue Lepic.



More background on ‘ Scène de rue à  Montmartre’. Sotheby’s painting has never been exhibited since it was in Vincent van Gogh’s Paris studio. The landscape has been in the same French family since at least 1920. Although a black-and-white photograph was published in 1972, it has only once been reproduced in colour as a very small image. I did hear something to the effect that it had lain the bureau of grand Pere for 100 years, therefore its pristine condition. Originally sold for 1,000€ its expected to bring 10,000,000+ euros. 


When Van Gogh moved 2 years later to Arles his colors transformed radically. From the Art Institute of Chicago an excellent timeline of his life and ventures: Van Gogh’s life was short and nomadic. By the time he died, at the age of 37, he had lived in 37 separate residences across 24 cities, mostly as a boarder or a guest dependent on the hospitality of family or friends. In 1888, he finally moved into the only home he truly considered his own: his beloved “Yellow House” in Arles. Don’t miss this 4-minute short film background on the Sotheby's painting. 

Outside the line was forming in the rain. Scène de rue à Montmartre is due be exhibited briefly (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) in Amsterdam (1-3 March), Hong Kong (9-12 March) and Paris (16-23 March, Drouot with Sotheby’s). The final auction is March 25.


Later waiting for the bus in the rain, I watched the ballet perform at Opera Bastille...That’s Paris. Meanwhile on the home front I’m still obsessed with painting yellow/jaune jonquils/daffs, fewer citron tarte, moving on to yellow tulips. Get Parisbreakfast letters, mapand watercolors in your mailbox. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast! Cheers 🐻❤️🌷



25 comments:

Ga From Dekalb said...

Thank you so much Carol for sharing this information about Van Gogh’s newly discovered landscape. I watched and forwarded the video to friends and family who love his works. This is something special.

La Table De Nana said...

I love him and moreso since Paris and St-Rémy♥

Home said...

I love your jonquil obsession. I read that yellow was Vincent’s favorite color

MR said...

Thank so much for the background history & the film is incredible. I love knowing all the background. How wonderful for you to see this in person.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Oh how interesting about Vincent and yellow Home.

They really didn't tell us too much at the short preview. I did more research. So much fun. Did you try the Chicago art institute time-line site? Very interesting.

Bonnie L said...

How wonderful that you got to see this Van Gogh, Carol. Not many people can say that! And, lucky for us that you got that close-up. The painting is much more colorful seeing the detail. My goodness, how Montmartre has changed in 150 years. Beautiful painting! Now, if only I had a spare $10,000,000 hanging around. 😉

I’m loving your “yellow series” of watercolors...lemons, daffodils, pastries, tea cups...bring it on...so suggestive of springtime. Just what we need. 💛

Parisbreakfasts said...

Yes, it was thrilling to see and so close. There are still hidden treasures out there sitting in someone’s old bureau..waiting to be discovered. I’m going to check mine now...if I could find it...hmm

Eye of the Beholder said...

This is great, Carol. I've been passing the pandemic watching art historian John Walsh's Van Gogh lectures at Yale. One lecture is entirely about Van Gogh in Paris. (Other lectures are about his painting in Amsterdam, Arles, St. Remy, and Auvers.) Here's the link for the Paris lecture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5-nT6i9Vtk

A Christmas present of Van Gogh's letters to his brother, Theo, prompted my interest in the Yale lectures. I read the letters along with watching the series--pandemic silver lining as I would probably not have taken the time to do both.

https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Vincent-Gogh-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140446745/ref=asc_df_0140446745/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312057607832&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5434487202652166075&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001635&hvtargid=pla-449241012870&psc=1

Parisbreakfasts said...

Oh Thank you ‘Eye’ I’m always looking for lectures etc. 👏👏👏

Sally said...

Meaningful. Thank you, Carol.

Jeanne L said...

Some day your collectors might fondly call it your “yellow period” or even "Periode Jaune.”

So Lovely!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Then there is the watering can period coming up..

Sunny said...

Enjoying your watercolors...a taste of springtime.
Bon dimanche

Dianej said...

Oh my! Thank you for this.....
Hello to you and Paris!
Take good care...you are a treasure..

Judy said...

you caught me on sunday morning here in southern california. thanks so much for your post.
and for the link to the 4 minute film. which led me to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA_I0qwnh_w.
i have sent both on to a painter friend in oregon.

Anne said...

This is a wonderful letter! The film is very good. Merci mille fois!

Helene said...

Thank you for this lovely issue. I particularly enjoyed Vincent's time line and the 4-minute film.

sukicart said...

How exciting to get to see this painting in person and thank you for showing it to us in a close-up. Keep up the happy yellow, whether it's tarts, jonquils, lemons or tulips.

Leslie in Oregon said...

How wonderful that you were able to see and photograph Van Gogh's Scene de Rue à Montmartre. I am thrilled to see your close-up photograph of it and really appreciate the observations and other education you provided about both the painting and the painter. Even though I have been learning about Van Gogh and his artistry since I was 7, it is clear that I've barely scratched the surface of the resources now available. Thank you, Leslie

Annabella Bray said...

Fantastique! Merci for your exposition on Van Gogh Carol and taking us to the exhibition 🙏

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for sharing this exciting art news, will be watching how it goes next Thursday!

Sally said...

I think the cartoon man is brushing/cleaning his shoe as he is barefoot and the other shoe is on the floor.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Hmmm...well he is in an artist’s garret and his pipe smoke is going out the chimney.
And his paint brushes are in the potty on the floor.
I’ll write him and get back to you OK?

CG said...

Thank you SO much for sharing! Especially these days of staying home!!

Jeanie said...

I would be over the moon with this. Oh, thank you for pointing ot such exquisite details and the minutiae that makes this so special (like the green and red -- tiny bits only another artist would be able to see and note.) I was fascinated by the photos, too, of Montmartre back in "the day." We forget it wasn't always a tourist-packed, crowded little hilltop neighborhood!

LOVE your daffs and jonquils. SO pretty. That yellow just rocks. And lemons... sigh!