Out of print subject of newly assigned Van Gogh sketch embodies us all right now

The history of art

#art history #drawing

September 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Study for ‘Worn Out'”, circa November 24, 1882, pencil on paper, approximately 48.8 x 30 centimeters. Courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum

Hunched over, face hidden in his palms, the tired subject of a sketch recently attributed to Vincent van Gogh (previously) embraces the collective spirit of 2021. The strangely prescient drawing, titled “Study for Worn Out,” dates back to 1882 in early life of the Dutch artist when he stayed in The Hague. A recurring model, this elderly and exhausted man resided in the Dutch Reformed Hospice for Men and Women, a place Van Gogh frequented when he searched for subjects. “In drawings like these, the artist has not only displayed his sympathy for the socially disadvantaged, in no way inferior in his eyes to the well-to-do bourgeoisie,” a statement said. “He actively called attention to them as well.”

As the name suggests, the pencil drawing is a preliminary rendering of van Gogh’s recognizable “Worn Out” and is also reminiscent of the “At Eternity’s Gate” lithograph. The piece is a unique find in the artist’s work given its stature, and it follows the discovery of a bookmark in June that has been hidden for over a century.

“Study for ‘Worn Out'” is on view at the Van Gogh Museum until January 2, 2022, when it will be returned to the anonymous private collector who brought it to the institution in Amsterdam to confirm its authenticity.

#art history #drawing

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