The Van Gogh Museum has enriched its collection with an early portrait by Emile Bernard, a dear artist friend of Vincent van Gogh. The two artists enjoyed working together and often exchanged ideas on modern painting. They also swapped their work, which is how Van Gogh amassed a large number of paintings and drawings by his friend. These works can now be found at the Van Gogh Museum.
Up until now, the museum collection lacked a powerful early portrait such as those made by Bernard in Brittany, where he developed rapidly as an artist. The expressive Portrait of a Young Woman now fills this gap in the collection.
In Asnières, near Paris, the friends painted together in a wooden studio in Bernard’s parents’ garden. It is almost certain that Van Gogh saw Portrait of a Young Woman there soon after it was finished, and was inspired by the work.