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Wed Sep 26, 2018, 04:42 PM

Historian Identifies Subject of Van Gogh's "Gardener"

The portrait is likely of a day laborer that worked on the grounds of the asylum
where the troubled artist stayed near the end of his life

After Vincent van Gogh sliced off most of his ear in 1888, his friends and family convinced him to check into a mental institution at Saint-Rémy-de Provence. Luckily for art history, they still let him paint during his stay (though he wasn’t allowed studio time when he was experiencing an attack). Indeed, in the little over a year van Gogh was at the asylum, he produced a prolific body of work, including the portrait of a smiling man in brightly colored clothes simply known as “The Gardener.” Now, Martin Bailey, columnist at the Art Newspaper and author of the new book Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum, has finally identified the mystery portrait sitter.

Bailey reports for Art Newspaper that he found the name of the subject in unpublished notes held by the Musée Estrine in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The records include statements from Louis Poulet, whose grandfather François Poulet was an orderly and carriage driver at the asylum when Van Gogh was a patient there. According to those documents, the subject was a 28-year-old man named Jean Barral. Bailey tracked down what he could on Barral, finding that he was a farmer and day laborer in the area, which made it possible that he worked on the asylum grounds.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/historian-identifies-subject-van-goghs-gardener-180970387/#gAbpQImRTWLozLxq.99

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Reply Historian Identifies Subject of Van Gogh's "Gardener" (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 OP
GeorgeGist Sep 2018 #1
Bayard Sep 2018 #2

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2018, 04:46 PM

1. Love Van Gogh

Rec

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2018, 05:17 PM

2. Interesting

It took real detective work to come up with this man's identity.

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