Unknown Van Gogh Portrait Goes on Show

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait With Felt Hat (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait With Felt Hat (1887).

Vincent van Gogh has been identified in a previously unknown sketch by the Dutch artist’s friend Emile Bernard (1868-1941), the Art Newspaper reports. The work will be exhibited for the first time in an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bremen, in Germany.

The postcard-sized ink-pen portrait was found among a collection of 858 drawings by the French artist. It depicts a bearded man, thought to be van Gogh, in a Parisian café in the company of two women with two wine bottles placed prominently in front of him. The rough, improvised nature of the artwork suggests it was hastily completed during a night out.

Kunsthalle Bremen curator Dorothee Hansen believes the drawing was made in the winter of 1886-87. She interprets Bernard’s sketch as a humorous reference to van Gogh’s well documented vices, with the artist positioned in between “the temptations of two ladies and two bottles.”

Aside from around 30 self-portraits, there are very few depictions of the celebrate painter: only six portraits of him by other artists exist and there are no known photographs.

The album including the van Gogh sketch will be shown in the exhibition “Emile Bernard: On the Pulse of Modernity” which opens at the Kunsthalle Bremen on Feb 7, 2015—although the newly discovered van Gogh sketch itself will be displayed from March 31.

Van Gogh’s oeuvre has an enduring appeal to many artists and designers. The Dutch fashion house Viktor and Rolf recently presented a van Gogh-inspired collection at Paris Fashion Week. (see “Van Gogh Inspired Dresses at Viktor & Rolf Paris Show“)

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