Paysanne arrachant de l'herbe (Peasant Woman, Stooping and Gleaning)

Vincent van Gogh1885

Museum Folkwang

Museum Folkwang

For this drawing, Vincent van Gogh concentrated on the bent over form of a peasant woman in wooden clogs. Her surroundings are only depicted to the extent necessary to illustrate her actions – collecting grains of corn. Dense chalk lines and a clear inclusion of light and shadow give the figure a monumental nature. This impression is strengthened by the drawing’s large format, only slightly smaller than the painted portrait of Armand Roulin in the Museum Folkwang collection. With this drawing, the importance van Gogh gave to depictions of peasant figures becomes manifest. In the year of this work, he wrote to his brother Theo: “ Showing the figure of the peasant in action, you see that’s what a figure is – I repeat – essentially modern – the heart of modern art itself – that which neither the Greeks, nor the Renaissance, nor the old Dutch school have done.” It was the type that interested van Gogh, and less the individual; thus the peasant’s face – the most important manifestation of human individuality – remains completely hidden.

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  • Title: Paysanne arrachant de l'herbe (Peasant Woman, Stooping and Gleaning)
  • Creator: Vincent van Gogh
  • Date: 1885
  • Physical Dimensions: w41,5 x h51,4 cm
  • Copyrights: © Museum Folkwang
  • Collection: Department of Prints and Drawings
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1904 for the Museum Folkwang, Hagen, since 1922 Essen
  • Type: Drawing
  • Medium: Black chalk