Sunday 10 August 2014

Van Gogh - after Millet

Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam.

What delighted me most during my visit at the museum was the discovery of seven small paintings that I had not seen before. They were executed while Van Gogh was staying at the hospital in Saint-Remy-de Provence. He strived to have subjects during the cold winter months and seeking to reinvigorate artistically he did more than 30 copies of works by some of his favourite artists. The seven I 'discovered' were copies after, or inspired, by Jean-Francois Millet. Rather than replicate, Van Gogh sought to translate the subjects and composition through his perspective, colour and technique. I think that those seven are some of his best work.

The photographs I took had too much reflection and are useless. I have searched the internet and could not find many copies. The first three below are from the Museum's facebook page, and the other two I honestly cannot remember where I found them as my search was so wide. The colours of the first three are exact reproductions of what I saw in the museum, but the last two are not quite right - the colours are wrong, particularly in the Sheep-Shearer. I could not find any copies of the remaining two: The Wood Cutter, and Peasant Woman Bruising Flax. I have written to the Van Gogh museum asking where I could find 'good' copies of these paintings, but have received no answer.

I have also included Evening (after Millet) a much larger painting.

Peasant Woman Binding Sheaves, 1889 

The Sheaf-Binder, 1889

The Reaper, 1889

The Sheep-Shearer, 1889

The Thresher, 1889

Evening (after Millet), 1889.


  1. These are delightful studies, Eirene, thank you. I also have never seen them in reproduction. They seem to me to say a great deal about Van Gogh himself, and make me curious to compare them with the Millet originals.

    1. I loved them, Olga, and I know that I am going to want to go to the museum to see them again, next time we're in Amsterdam. They need to be seen in the original - it was a real delight.

      And I agree with you that they seem to say a great deal about the artist himself - an extraordinary man. I remember in my teens discovering his work, and then reading the biography by Irving Stone and being bewitched by the artist, his life and the work.

  2. You probably found this out - but just in case you didn't: there was an exhibition in 1998 at the Musee d'Orsay of both Millet and Van Gogh, appropriately enough titled Millet/Van Gogh.

    I see that there is one copy of the catalogue available from a bookseller in Italy, in case you are interested:

    1. How clever of you, Olga. No, I had not found out, but will look it all up.