A Peasant Woman Digging
Nuenen, Holland, 1885
Oil on canvas, laid down on panel
42 x 32 cm
Van Gogh lived for two years at Nuenen in Holland painting peasant subjects.
In such works he uses a palette of drab earth colours far removed from the vibrant contrasting pigments of his later radical paintings. He wrote to his brother in July 1885 about a ‘woman … seen from the front, her head almost on the ground, digging carrots’. ‘I have been watching those peasant figures for more than a year and a half’, he added, ‘just to catch their character’. The artist was convinced that he got ‘better results by painting them in their roughness than by giving them a conventional charm’.
Purchased 1961 (No.61.8)