Excitement in the art world. Once again, a rare canvas by Vincent van Gogh comes under the hammer. This time at Sothebys auction house in Paris, in collaboration with Mirbaud Mercier Auction House. It is Scène de rue à Montmartre, which he painted in the spring of 1887 in the French capital. The painting, which has a target price of €5 to 8 million, was owned by the same family in France for over 100 years.
However, the work of art was not unknown to the experts. It is neatly described in seven catalogues about the oeuvre of the world-famous Dutch master. But until now, the painting has never been shown to the general public. “It is our great pleasure to present this to the world now”, say Claudia Mercier and Fabien Mirabaud of the eponymous auction house proudly.
The artwork, which will be auctioned on Thursday 25 March, will be in the Netherlands as of this Monday. From 1 March to 3 March it can be seen for interested parties at Sothebys in Amsterdam, but due to the corona measures only by appointment.
Unique opportunity for collectors
Sothebys emphasizes that it is an exceptional event that a work of this caliber comes on the market. “This is a unique opportunity for collectors of Van Goghs work and for the art market in general,” says Aurélie Vandevoorde, one of the two senior directors of Impressionst and Modern Art in Paris.
The canvas is part of a series of paintings depicting the Moulin de La Galette in Montmartre. In 1887 Vincent lived with his brother Theo, who was an art dealer in Paris, on Rue Lepic in the same neighbourhood. The artist was captivated by the idyllic atmosphere in the district on what was at the time the edge of the city and where mills, nightlife venues and the cabaret determined the street scene.
In Paris, the Dutch painter met the impressionists and the pioneers of the avant-garde. This direct contact had a great influence on his painting style. The dark, earthy colours, which characterised his palette in Holland, for example, for The Potato Eaters, gave way to lighter, sparkling colours in the City of Light. Also his nervous brush stroke with the fast lines arose here.
“ This work shows the artistic transformation that Van Gogh went through in Montmartre. This eventually led to his unique, very colorful style, making him world famous,” says Sarah de Clercq, managing director at Sothebys Amsterdam. The mill that can be seen on this canvas is the so-called Pepper Mill or Moulin Debray, which was not far from Moulin de la Galette until 1911.