Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, September 1889
oil on canvas,
44.5 cm x 33.1 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
At the psychiatric clinic in Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh hardly ever had access to live models. Even so, he was keen to practice figure painting. So he arrived at the idea of basing his paintings on engravings of works by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). The Sheaf Binder comes from a 10-part series entitled Travaux des champs (‘Work in the Fields’).
Vincent wrote to his brother about his underlying reason for using the prints in this way: ‘since I am above all ill at present, I’m trying to do something to console myself, for my own pleasure’.