Vincent van Gogh’s Newly Discovered Work Goes on Display

In late 1882 Vincent van Gogh sat to write his younger brother Theo: “….while I was working, an idea came to me for making figures from the people for the people,” the artist wrote from his room in the Hague. “So since my letter on this subject I now have some new ones.” The new ones van Gogh was discussing included a sketch of an old man with his head in his hands. This drawing, which would assume the title Worn Out, would eventually be purchased by a private collector, never to be seen again. Until now. 

On September 16 in Amsterdam, the drawing went on view to the public for the first time ever. The small pencil drawing depicts an elderly laborer sitting on a wooden chair. The subject takes on the exhausted position with his head in his hands. It was a scene van Gogh would use as inspiration in a painting some eight years later, in 1890, mere weeks before his untimely death.

“This one has never been seen before anywhere,” said Teio Meedendorp, senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum, in a statement. “It’s the first time that this drawing is out in the open.” The museum does not know the exact value of the painting yet. What we do know, however, is that it was made during a very important time in the artist’s life. 

The drawing is now on display for the public in Amsterdam.

Photo: Getty Images

By 1882, Vincent Van Gogh had been an artist for only two years (his previous occupations included art dealer, school teacher, and preacher). The 29-year-old artist was being financially and morally supported by his younger brother Theo, who was a successful art dealer at the time.

Van Gogh’s Sorrowing Old Man, also known as At Eternity’s Gate (May 1890), completed weeks before his untimely death.

Photo: Getty Images/Francis G. Mayer

The announcement of this van Gogh drawing comes six months after another painting by the artist went on display for the first time after spending more than 100 years behind closed doors. A Street Scene In Montmartre (1887) went on to fetch 13.09 million euros ($15.3 million) at auction in March 2020.

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