Videos ()
The Artistic Heritage of Modena: Wounded Art


Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)

Oil on canvas
17 3/8 x 15 in. (44.1 x 38.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays, 1984
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This work was made in Nuenen in late spring 1885, just after Van Gogh completed The Potato Eaters (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), in the same dark hues that reminded the artist of "green soap" or "a really dusty potato, unpeeled of course." Van Gogh was "convinced that in the long run it produces better results to paint [peasants] in their coarseness than to introduce conventional sweetness… If a peasant painting smells of bacon, smoke, potato steam—fine—that’s not unhealthy—if a stable smells of manure—very well, that’s what a stable’s for."

  • Provenance

    Amédée Schuffenecker, Paris and Clamart (by 1901–at least 1907); Auguste Pellerin, Paris; [Eugène Blot, Paris, by 1933–37; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 2, 1933, no. 49, as "Devant l'âtre," bought in; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 23, 1937, no. 69, as "Devant l'âtre"]; Levy-Hermanos, Paris (by 1939–at least 1947); Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays, Norwalk, Conn. (by 1955–84)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Galerie Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition Vincent van Gogh," March 15–31, 1901, no. 44 (as "Femme cuisinant," lent by M. Amédée Schuffenecker).

    Paris. Société des artistes indépendants. "Exposition rétrospective Vincent van Gogh," March 24–April 30, 1905, no. 41 (as "La Cuisinière hollandaise," lent by Amédée Schuffenecker).

    Mannheim. Kunsthalle. "Internationale Kunst- und Grosse Gartenbau-Ausstellung," May 1–October 20, 1907, no. 366d (as "Garköchin," aus Sammlung Schuffenecker, Paris) [This is the third of four editions of the catalogue; the first, provisional edition lists the painting as no. 1076 "Köchin"; see Scotti 1985 and Feilchenfeldt 1988].

    Paris. Éditions de la Gazette des beaux-arts. "Gauguin, ses amis: l'École de Pont-Aven et l'Académie Julian," February–March 1934, no. 143 (as "Les Crêpes," lent by M. Eugène Blot).

    New York. Wildenstein. "The Art and Life of Vincent van Gogh," October 6–November 7, 1943, no. 5 (as "By the Fire Place" [sic], lent by the Levy-Hermanos Collection).

    New York. Wildenstein. "Van Gogh," March 24–April 30, 1955, no. 8 (as "Woman at the Hearth," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays).

    Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. "Vincent van Gogh," July 3–August 4, 1957, no. 3 (as "Woman at the Hearth," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays, Norwalk, Connecticut).

    New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. "Van Gogh and Expressionism," July 1–September 13, 1964, unnum. brochure (as "Woman at the Hearth," lent by Mrs. Mortimer Hays, Norwalk, Connecticut).

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 107.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Van Gogh—Mappe. Munich, 1912, pl. 7, as "Die Frau am Herd" on list of plates, and as "Am Herd" on plate itself.

    Louis Piérard. The Tragic Life of Vincent van Gogh. London, 1925, ill. opp. p. 31, as "Brabançonne Peasant" [French ed., Paris, 1924].

    Paul Colin. Van Gogh. London, 1926, pl. 4, as "The Pancakes" [French ed., Paris, 1925].

    J.-B. de La Faille. L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue Raisonné. Paris, 1928, vol. 1, p. 55, no. 176; vol. 2, pl. 43, as "Devant l'âtre".

    Walther Vanbeselaere. De Hollandsche Periode (1880–1885) in het Werk van Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890). Antwerp, 1937, pp. 300, 416, no. 176, as "Boerin bij den Haard," in the collection of Eugène Blot, Paris; dates it September 1885.

    J.-B. de La Faille. Vincent van Gogh. London, [1939], pp. 146, 568, 575, 586, no. 174, ill., as "By the Fire-Place" [sic], in the Levy-Hermanos collection, Paris; dates it Nuenen period 1885.

    Georg Schmidt. Van Gogh. Bern, 1947, pl. 3, as "Kochende Bäuerin," in the Levy-Hermanos collection, Paris; dates it Nuenen 1885.

    Paul Gachet. Vincent van Gogh aux "Indépendants". Paris, 1953, unpaginated.

    Paolo Lecaldano. "Da Etten a Parigi." L'opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh e i suoi nessi grafici. 1, repr. [1st ed., 1966]. Milan, 1977, pp. 104–5, no. 174, ill., as in the Hays collection, Norwalk, Conn.; dates it May 1885; calls F1288 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) a study.

    J.-B. de La Faille. The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings. Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 95, 99, 435–36, 453–54, 618, no. 176, ill., as "Peasant Woman by the Fireplace," in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays; dates it May 1885 or slightly later; states that it was painted at Nuenen; lists other works depicting the same model and interior.

    Jan Hulsker. The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. [1st ed., Amsterdam, 1977]. New York, 1980, pp. 178–79, no. 799, ill., as "Woman Baking Pancakes," formerly [sic] collection Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays; states that it is closely related to drawings dating from the beginning of June 1885 and done in connection with work on "The Potato Eaters" (F82; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).

    Roland Scotti. Die "Internationale Kunst–Ausstellung" 1907 in Mannheim. Mannheim, 1985, pp. 37, 42, states that it was exhibited at Mannheim 1907 as "Garköchin"; reproduces the first, provisional edition of the exhibition catalogue, which includes no. 1076 "Köchin"; notes that this was one of seven Van Goghs that remained in the exhibition, even after hostile reviews in the press.

    Gary Tinterow in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, p. 27, ill., as "Peasant Woman Cooking Pancakes"; dates it late spring 1885; compares it to "The Potato Eaters" (F82; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).

    Walter Feilchenfeldt. Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin: The Reception of Van Gogh in Germany from 1901 to 1914. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1988, pp. 84, 145.

    Jan Hulsker. The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. rev. ed. Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 178, 182, no. 799, ill. p. 179, as "Woman Baking Pancakes".

    Sjraar van Heugten. "Nuenen, 1883–1885." Vincent van Gogh, Drawings. 2, Amsterdam, 1997, pp. 192–94 n. 3, p. 268, relates it to a series of drawings depicting women by the hearth, in particular a sketch in the Kröller–Müller Museum (not in F, JH 796) that he dates August 1885, assigning the MMA picture to that same period or to the preceding spring.

    Teio Meedendorp in The Paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the Collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum. Otterlo, 2003, p. 418 n. 4.

    Susan Alyson Stein in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 146, 218, no. 107, ill. (color and black and white).

    Marije Vellekoop, and Roelie Zwikker, with the assistance of Monique Hageman. "Arles, Saint-Rémy & Auvers-sur-Oise, 1888–90." Vincent van Gogh, Drawings. 4, Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2007, part 2, p. 388 n. 1.

    Jill Elyse Grossvogel. Claude-Emile Schuffenecker: Catalogue Raisonné, Supplement. Chicago, 2008, p. 40.

  • Notes

    La Faille [see Ref. 1970] dates this picture to the artist's Nuenen period, May 1885 or slightly later. At about the same time, Van Gogh made several drawings with similar compositions, depicting the same model and interior. Those closest to the present picture include F1288 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and F1291 (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo).

    Eugène Druet photograph, pl. 73, no. 30/40–2970, ca. 1900–1910 (Collection Le fonds Druet-Vizzavona, Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Fort de Saint-Cyr, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France). Probably shot during Exh. Paris 1905.

  • See also