July 14, 2024

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Poland celebrates the only Van Gogh bought for the price of beer

Poland celebrates the only Van Gogh bought for the price of beer

“A Country Cottage Among the Trees” was donated by a collector to the Polish Catholic Church

Poland opened an art exhibition on Friday to celebrate Van Gogh’s only painting, a rare early landscape worth millions that was once offered by a street vendor for the price of a beer. Rustic hut among the treesIt dates back to 1883 when the poor Dutch artist was still learning to paint in the countryside around The Hague.

He said the small oil painting — also known as “Country Houses Among the Trees” — is “interesting for its modesty and for showing a completely different side of Van Gogh.” Agata Smolnicka, co-curator of the exhibition in Warsaw. “He painted with a limited palette, and not many people know the French period he lived in Starry night “They know their Dutch phase,” he told AFP.

“The Hague works are relatively rare,” he said. Theo Middendorp, from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which authenticated the unsigned painting. “He painted about 75 paintings there, but only 30 remain. The rest have been destroyed or lost over the years.”

The exhibition in Warsaw explores different aspects of Poland’s only cherished Van Gogh painting


The canvas ended up in a carpenter’s attic with a collection of other early Van Gogh paintings when he moved abroad. Eventually, the carpenter sold “that junk,” as he called it, for a pittance to a street vendor who sold pictures from his wheelbarrow.

“He took the works to a café… Anyone who bought him a round of beer got a Van Gogh,” the gallery consultant wrote. Juliet van Ohm, in the exhibition catalogue. “Some of the paintings were given to the children to play with; “They tied them around their waists as if they were aprons,” he added.

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Many of them were rescued by a distinguished tailor who tried to buy them all. It was later displayed and sold, and Van Gogh’s Polish painting ended up in Switzerland. Charles Zbigniew Karol BurczynskiA Polish collector in Britain bought the painting in 1987 and donated it to the Catholic Church in his home country.

A new exhibition at the John Paul II and Visinsky Primate Museum explores several aspects of the canvas.

Exhibition curator Anna Biskupska stands in front of a Van Gogh painting

Colored boy

Co-coordinator Stefania Ambrosiak He said the painting was “Van Gogh before Van Gogh.” He said he was “learning about oil painting and learning how to apply colors.” By this point, Van Gogh had put so much work into his painting that experts said he was not a prodigy like Picasso or Toulouse-Lautrec.

“When you see Vincent’s work as a young man, the big surprise is that he became an artist,” Middendorp said with a laugh. “Because it wasn’t very good. I mean, I didn’t have a natural sense of perspective and proportion.

What he had was speed, which is clearly shown in the painting displayed in Warsaw. “You can tell the painter’s hand is working very quickly, working wet on a wet hand very quickly. And this is a great example of that,” Midendrup said.

Although the Polish palette is darker than the dazzling colors usually associated with Van Gogh, Middendorp said it testifies to his innate talent for color. “He was very good at mixing his colors, contrasting colors with red and green,” Middendorp said. “He was a natural colorist, but it was only when he really learned about color in Paris…that he developed into a great painter,” he said.

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Van Gogh. Painting stories It is on display in Warsaw until December.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Photos: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP