Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
Oil on canvas
17 3/8 x 15 in. (44.1 x 38.1 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays, 1984 (1984.393)
This work was painted in Nuenen in late spring 1885, just after Van Gogh completed The Potato Eaters (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), in the same dark hues that reminded the artist of "green soap" or a "good dusty potato, unpeeled, of course." Van Gogh was "convinced that in the long run to portray peasants in their coarseness gives better results than introducing conventional sweetness. If a peasant painting smells of bacon, smoke, potato steam, very well, that's not unhealthy; if a stable smells of manure, alright, that's why it's a stable. . . ."