Van Gogh masterpiece could top $20 million at Christie's
A masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh could bring more than $20 million when it goes up for sale in London this month,
The painting is amongst the leading lots in Christie's latest Impressionist and Modern Art auction, where it will cross the block with an estimate of £12.5 - £16.5 million ($15,950,000 - $21,054,000).
'Le Moissonneur (d’après Millet)' was created by the Dutch artist in 1889, whilst he recovered from a mental breakdown that left him unable to leave his room at the Saint-Rémy asylum.
The painting is one of ten based on a series of original drawings by artist Jean-François Millet, who van Gogh described as a "counsellor and mentor in everything for young artists".
Millet's drawings captured the essence of rural life, which fascinated van Gogh throughout his life.
"Diggers, sowers, ploughmen, men, and women – these must I now unceasingly draw," he once wrote. "I must examine and draw every aspect of country life just as many others have done and are still doing. I no longer stand so helpless before nature as I once did."
Although confined to his room, he turned to Millet's drawings and imbued them with a remarkable sense of light and colour which made the images his own.
Having seen the paintings, Van Gogh's brother Theo was full of praise for them, and wrote in a letter: "The Millet copies are perhaps the finest things you’ve done, and make me believe that big surprises still await us the day you set yourself by doing figure compositions."
Of the ten paintings in the series, just three remain in private hands, with the other seven owned by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
"Charged with intense colour and electrifying brushwork, this painting dates from the beginning of one of the most prolific periods of Van Gogh’s career, a stage that saw an almost miraculous outpouring of work in the midst of the artist’s episodic yet ever-increasing mental breakdowns that punctuated the final years of his life," said the auction house.
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