Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Wever naar rechts gekeerd (Weaver Facing Right)

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Wever naar rechts gekeerd (Weaver Facing Right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
14 3/8 x 17 5/8 in. (36.6 x 45 cm.)
Painted in 1884
C. Mouwen, Jr., Breda.
Oldenzeel Art Gallery, Rotterdam.
H.P. Bremmer, The Hague (by 1929).
Private collection, Europe (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, New York, 3 November 2009, lot 24.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J.B. de la Faille, L'oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue raisonné, dessins, aquarelles, lithographies, Paris, 1928, p. 52, no. 162.
W. Vanbeselaere, De Hollandsche Periode (1880-1885) in het Werk van Vincent van Gogh, Antwerp, 1937, pp. 281, 317 and 415.
J.B. de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1939, p. 150, no. 180 (illustrated).
J.B. de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, Amsterdam, 1970, p. 96, no. 162 (illustrated, p. 97; titled Weaver: The Whole Loom, Facing Right).
R. Lecaldano, L'Opera Pittorica Completa di Van Gogh, Milan, 1977, p. 94, no. 36 (illustrated).
J. Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, New York, 1980, p. 108, no. 457 (illustrated, p. 109).
I.F. Walther and R. Metzger, Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, p. 36 (illustrated in color).
J. Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 108, no. 457 (illustrated, p. 109).
L. Jansen, H. Luijten and N. Bakker, Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, Amsterdam, 2009, vol. 3, p. 104, no. 2 (illustrated in color).
(possibly) Rotterdam, Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, November 1903.
Kunsthalle Basel, Vincent van Gogh, October-November 1947, p. 18, no. 7.
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, De Arbeid in de Kunst: Van Meunier tot Permeke, April-June 1952, no. 36.
Paris, Museé Jacquemart-André, Vincent van Gogh, February-March 1960, no. 6.
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 1929-1976 (on extended loan from the heirs of H.P. Bremmer).


In Drenthe during the final months of 1883, Van Gogh claimed that “painting comes more easily to me; I feel the urge to tackle all sorts of things that I left undone until today” (Letter no. 367; to Theo van Gogh, 16 October 1883). But desperately short of money, he left in early December to live with his parents in Nuenen. He was keen to continue working in oils, and took up an idea he had been pondering since 1880, a series of pictures depicting local weavers engaged in their work.
The world-renowned textile industry in Brabant had fallen on hard times, yielding foreign markets to more efficient competition from fully mechanized English manufacturers, while becoming dependent on less lucrative domestic consumption. Most Dutch weavers were independent rural artisans working at home, few of whom could keep up with advances in technology and the consolidation of resources in the cities. Many such erstwhile entrepreneurs, having lost ownership of their looms, joined a growing army of wage-earning workers, who were poorly paid and lived in squalid slums. Van Gogh sought to capture a traditional way of life and a quality of handiwork that was rapidly disappearing.
“When I am not with Ma, I’m at a weaver’s nearby, where I am working on two painted studies” (Letter no. 427; to Theo, between about 21 and 24 January 1884; probably referring to the present painting and Faille, no. 26). Within a few months Van Gogh completed nearly twenty drawings and watercolors, and seven oil paintings of weavers, including the present canvas. A second group, together with a series of spinners, followed that summer. The slatted wooden looms fascinated Van Gogh; he preferred the oldest pre-industrial examples he could find—some dated from the 18th century. “I’ll have a lot more hard graft on these looms, but in reality the things are such almighty beautiful affairs... I certainly believe it’s right that they should be painted” (Letter no. 445; to Theo, 30 April 1884).
“Every day I paint studies of the weavers here, which I think are better in technique than the painted studies from Drenthe that I sent you” (Letter no. 428; to Theo, on or about 3 February 1884). The skills that Van Gogh refined while painting this series proved invaluable when he began the two versions of the famous Potato Eaters (Faille, nos. 78 and 82), the masterpieces of his Dutch period, which he completed in April and May 1885.

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