Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)

Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)
Artist:
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)
Date:
August 1888
Medium:
Oil on canvas 
Dimensions:
25-1/4 x 21-1/2 in. (64.1 x 54.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
M.1975.06.P 
Copyright:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View
Description

Sunburnt and weather-beaten, the Provençal peasant Patience Escalier gazes out of Van Gogh’s picture with blazing intensity. Dazzling yellow, vivid blue, green, and red make this portrait, painted in August 1888, perhaps the artist’s most daring coloristic experiment to date. “[I]nstead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes,” he wrote to his brother, Theo, “I use color more arbitrarily, in order to express myself with force.” He called the picture “a sort of ‘man with a hoe,’” referring to a celebrated work by the previous generation’s great painter of peasants, Jean-François Millet: Man with a Hoe, today in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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