Friday, February 29, 2008

Van Gogh for Sale at Maastricht

One of Vincent's Auvers canvases, the "Child with an Orange," will be for sale at the upcoming Maastricht art fair for about $30 million, BBC News and the Independent report today. It has been in a Swiss private collection since 1916.

The child is Raoul Levert, the 2-year-old son of Vincent Levert, a carpenter in Auvers-sur-Oise who made frames and stretchers for van Gogh. The painting was done in June 1890, a few weeks after van Gogh arrived in Auvers-sur-Oise and after he had seen his baby nephew (whom he adored) in Paris for the first time. "Child with an Orange" is one of many portraits of children that Vincent made during his career; it testifies both to his love of children and, at this point in his life, his wistful belief that he'd never have a family of his own. As Arifa Akbar, the Independent's Arts Correspondent, points out, little Raoul has rosy pink cheeks and blooms with health. In June 1890, Vincent was urging his brother Theo and sister-in-law Johanna to bring their child to the country for fresh air, believing that Paris was unhealthy for his nephew. In general, Vincent was feeling fairly optimistic about life and about his new home in Auvers-sur-Oise, so the colors here are bright and cheerful, the mood positive.

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