Conservation Netherlands

Early Van Gogh drawing revealed

Sketch was made while he was learning to be an artist and living in coal-mining region of Borinage

Young Roman

A previously unknown work by Van Gogh has been discovered. The drawing, Young Roman, is the artist’s copy made from an instruction folio assembled by the French artist and the lithographer Charles Bargue.

Van Gogh drew Young Roman in the autumn of 1880, when he was making his first steps towards becoming an artist and living in the coal-mining region of Borinage, Belgium. The pencil copy belongs to a private collector.

The discovery was made at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam during a research project into the artist’s methods, which culminated in the museum’s exhibition “Van Gogh at Work” (until 12 January 2014) and a technical volume, Van Gogh’s Studio Practice. The drawing is included in the book, but not in the exhibition.

While copying from Bargue’s manual, Vincent told his brother that this would help him draw “a more or less reasonable miner“.

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As of last week the drawing is on show in the Van Gogh Museum, in the exhibition 'Van Gogh at work'.

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