Rare Paris painting by Van Gogh to be exhibited ahead of Sotheby’s auction

Street Scene in Montmartre depicts a windmill named the Pepper Mill, seen from the street under a bright sky, with a man, a women and a little girl walking in front of wooden palisades that surrounded the place.

The Associated Press February 26, 2021 12:42:00 IST
Rare Paris painting by Van Gogh to be exhibited ahead of Sotheby’s auction

Sotheby's personnel display the rare painting, Street scene in Montmartre by the Dutch master, Vincent Van Gogh. Image via The Associated Press/ Christophe Ena

Paris: A rare painting by Dutch impressionist master Vincent van Gogh of a street scene in the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre will be publicly displayed for the first time before its auction next month.

Sotheby’s auction house said the work, painted in 1887, has remained in the same family collection for more than 100 years — out of the public eye.

It will be exhibited next month in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Paris ahead of an auction scheduled on 25 March in the French capital.

“It’s an important painting in the oeuvre of Vincent van Gogh because it dates from the period in which he’s living in Paris with his brother, Theo,” Etienne Hellman, senior director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby’s, told The Associated Press.

Van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886 and lived in Montmartre. He left the capital in 1888 for southern France, where he lived until his death in 1890.

Rare Paris painting by Van Gogh to be exhibited ahead of Sothebys auction

Dutch impressionist master, Vincent Van Gogh. Image via Wikimedia Commons

“Before this, his paintings are much darker... In Paris he discovers colour,” Hellman said. “Colour blows up into the painting.”

Street Scene in Montmartre depicts a windmill named the Pepper Mill, seen from the street under a bright sky, with a man, a women and a little girl walking in front of wooden palisades that surrounded the place.

“Paris marks this period where... the major impressionists influence his work,” Hellman said.

Sotheby’s said the painting has been published in seven catalogues before but has never been exhibited.

Claudia Mercier, auctioneer of Mirabaud Mercier house, said “it is also an important painting because there are very, very few of them remaining in private hands... especially from that period, most are in museums now.”

Sotheby’s has estimated the painting’s value between 5 and 8 million euros (between $6.1 and $9.8 million). It did not reveal the identity of the owner.

It will be on display in Amsterdam from 1-3 March, Hong-King from 9-12 March and Paris from 16-23 March.

The Pepper Mill was destroyed during the construction of an avenue in 1911, but two similar windmills are still present today on the Montmartre hill.

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