Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
Oil on canvas
17 3/8 x 15 in. (44.1 x 38.1 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Hays, 1984 (1984.393)
This work was painted 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."