A Master Painter Returns: Vincent van Gogh

by Sara Conway on March 4, 2021


The Artist’s “Street Scene in Montmartre” Unveiled

by Grace O’Connor ’22 A&E Staff


Vincent van Gogh’s paintings have been centerpieces of the art world, capturing the eyes of their audiences, for centuries. It has recently been revealed that one of van Gogh’s paintings has been hidden in a private collection for over 100 years. This piece was captured by a French collector in the 1920s and has never been seen by the public since. Van Gogh painted “Scène de rue à Montmartre” in 1887, a few years before his death. According to CNN, this painting illustrates “Parisians walking through a rural and sparse landscape in Montmartre, a historic district which today is one of the city’s most popular destinations.”

“Street scene in Montmartre” is going on public display before it is expected to go on sale in Paris on March 25 for 5 to 8 million euros. Claudia Mercier and Fabien Mirabaud from the Parisian auction house said, “The moment we set eyes on this painting for the first time we were immediately captivated. It is with great pleasure that we can now present this to the world, after being treasured by the same French family for a century.” This treasure caught the eye of the public immediately after it was put on display. The painting provides a peek into 19th century Montmartre, illustrating a hilltop that overlooks the capital.

Now, the painting bears little resemblance to what this street actually looks like, but it realistically portrayed a district that was popular among the Parisians. This painting is part of a series known as Moulin de la Galette, a focus for van Gogh a few years before his death. Aurelie Vandevoorde and Etienne Hellman, directors of the impressionist and modern art department at Sotheby’s France, mentioned to CNN, “Very few paintings from van Gogh’s Montmartre Period remain in private hands, with most of the series now held in prestigious museum collections around the world.” This discovery will forever be remembered in the art world.

Van Gogh’s talent has lived on and is admired around the world for its breathtaking beauty. Van Gogh started painting in 1880 with no formal experience. Struggling with mental illness throughout his life, art acted as a form of therapy for him. Van Gogh was inspired by impressionist artists when he moved to Paris in 1886. One of his biggest influences included Anton Mauve, who introduced him to watercolors and oils. This influence can be seen in one of van Gogh’s earliest pieces, “Still Life With Cabbage and Clogs.”

He dedicated his life to painting, producing more than 2,100 pieces. When van Gogh was young, he worked as an art dealer who often traveled. He produced his first drawings at his parents’ home in the Netherlands. Eventually, he took up residence in The Hague, where he focused on his paintings of landscapes. The days leading up to van Gogh’s death were some of his most productive. Van Gogh’s paintings were recognized widely after his death and they continue to be an inspiration to many today.