Winter (The Vicarage Garden under Snow)

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)
Probably January 1885, Nuenen
Oil on canvas, mounted to panel 
23 x 31-1/8 in. (58.4 x 79.1 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

Van Gogh’s father was a Protestant minister; the artist himself had studied theology and pursued missionary work briefly before settling with his parents in the vicarage of a remote Dutch town in 1883. In this view across the vicarage garden, a lone figure clears a path, though the leafless bushes—or perhaps markers—at left give us pause: is this man shoveling snow, or digging a grave? From bare trees to dirty snow, to wintry, scumbled sky, the landscape is willfully, unremittingly bleak, a painted equivalent to Émile Zola’s grim Naturalist novels of the same period.


C. Mouwen, Jr., Breda (sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, 3 May 1904, lot 6, as L’hiver, unsold).
[Oldenzeel Art Gallery, Rotterdam].
Henricus Petrus Bremmer (1871-1956), The Hague, 1905, by descent to;
his heirs.
?[E.V. Thaw & Co., New York; stock no. R8106];
?[Reid & Lefevre, London];
[E. J. van Wisselingh and Co., Amsterdam; stock no. S 2589, as L’Hiver; by 1963; offered 24 September 1969 and subsequently sold 22 October 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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