Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)
August 1888
Oil on canvas 
25-1/4 x 21-1/2 in. (64.1 x 54.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

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.


Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Amsterdam, sold Dec. 1899 to;
Henricus Petrus Bremmer (1871-1956), The Hague, still in 1935, to;
Mr. and Mrs. Edouard L. Jonas, Paris and New York;
Mrs. H. Harris Jonas (Mrs. Edouard Jonas, 1884–1974), New York, to;
[Wildenstein and Co., New York, sold 1975 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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