A new drawing by Vincent van Gogh has been discovered: The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry, dating to March 1886. The discovery has been confirmed following extensive research conducted by the Van Gogh Museum into the subject, style, technique, materials and provenance of the until now, unknown drawing in the collection of the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation.
As a result of this discovery, a work that was previously rejected as being from Van Gogh’s hand could be attributed to him. This work, entitled The Hill of Montmartre (1886) and housed at the Van Gogh Museum, shares an unmistakable connection to the newly-discovered drawing in terms of subject, size, style, technique and materials. Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum): ‘It is fantastic news that two drawings can now definitively be added to Van Gogh’s oeuvre’.
Both drawings will be on display as part of Impressionism & Beyond. A Wonderful Journey, an exhibition at Singer Laren featuring French Impressionist, post-Impressionist and Expressionist works from the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation collection.
Van Gogh seeking his own style
Teio Meedendorp, Senior Researcher at the Van Gogh Museum: ‘The two drawings are clearly from the same hand and stylistically, are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s model drawings from early 1886, which he initially created in Antwerp and subsequently in Paris, in Cormon’s studio. The materials used are also identical and the subjects can be linked to paintings created by Van Gogh on Montmartre in spring and early summer. Within Van Gogh’s drawn oeuvre, these two striking works aptly illustrate how the artist was still very much seeking his own style in the winter/spring 1886 period. They demonstrate a phase in Van Gogh’s learning process – in Paris, he rediscovered himself, but here, he was still following the traditional artistic path’. The work at the Van Gogh Museum was previously rejected, partly due to a lack of material for comparison; the connection with studies produced at Cormon’s studio was not made, as the general assumption was that it was not until autumn 1886 that Van Gogh visited his studio.
Research has also indicated that The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry was once part of Vincent and Theo van Gogh’s collection. Theo’s widow Johanna van Gogh-Bonger consigned the work to the art dealer J. H. de Bois in Haarlem in 1911. He sold the work in circa 1917, after which time it disappeared from view. This was 11 years before the first catalogue of Van Gogh’s oeuvre was published (De la Faille, 1928). The drawing has never before been exhibited or included in a publication.
Last drawing discovered in 2012
There are more than 900 known drawings by Van Gogh, in addition to five sketchbooks. The Van Gogh Museum is home to more than half of Van Gogh’s complete drawn oeuvre – approximately 500 drawings and the sketchbooks. A new drawing by Van Gogh was last discovered in 2012, the early pencil drawing Roman Youth (after Bargue after Bonnat) from 1880, a copy after an example used in Charles Bargue’s drawing course.