Catalogue entry

Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890

N04714 The Oise at Auvers 1890

Not inscribed
Gouache and pencil on paper, slightly irregular, 18 3/4 x 24 3/4 (47.8 x 62.8)
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933
Prov: Mrs J. van Gogh-Bonger, Amsterdam; C. Frank Stoop, London
Exh: Teekeningen door Vincent van Gogh, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, December 1914-January 1915 (197); Vincent van Gogh en zijn Tijdgenooten, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, September-November 1930 (120); Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-90, Tate Gallery, December 1947-January 1948 (176); Birmingham City Art Gallery, January-February 1948 (176); Glasgow City Art Gallery, February-March 1948 (176); Vincent van Gogh: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, April-June 1970 (64, repr.)
Lit: J.-B. de la Faille, L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh (Paris-Brussels 1928), No.1639, Vol.3, p.177, repr. Vol.4, pl.205 as 'L'Oise'; Douglas Cooper, Drawings and Watercolours by Vincent van Gogh (New York-Basle 1955), p.88, repr. p.89 in colour; J.-B. de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh (Amsterdam 1970), No.F1639, p.559 repr. as 'View across the Oise towards Méry and the Paris Road'; Paolo Lecaldano, L'Opera Pittorica Completa di Van Gogh e i suoi Nessi Grafici (Milan 1971), No.806, Vol.2, p.230, repr. p.228
Repr: Apollo, X, 1929, p.132

Not mentioned in the letters. Probably executed in June 1890 soon after van Gogh's arrival at Auvers. It represents a view from Auvers looking across the Oise towards Méry and the Paris road; the old bridge of Auvers (now replaced by a more modern structure) is on the right. The view is taken from the top of a high and very steep embankment above the railway line, the plumy forms in the bottom right-hand corner being probably suggested by the smoke of a passing train. The scene is still remarkably similar, with cattle grazing in the fields below, but it seems that the tall trees along the river bank may have been an invention of van Gogh's for compositional purposes. There is no trace of big trees thereabouts today and they look as though they were sketched in as an afterthought.

Examination of the edges of this drawing, where the colours have been protected by the mount, shows that most of the strokes of gouache which are now whitish were originally pink. The fading has particularly affected the sky and has led to a colouristic imbalance in the composition. In the original edition of de la Faille's catalogue, published in 1928, the roofs are described as vermilion, and the sky as pink, striped with white.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.293-4, reproduced p.293