A painting that played a key role in making Vincent van Gogh internationally famous and which was later owned by the American millionaire on whom Ian Fleming modelled his arch-villain Goldfinger is to go on sale at TEFAF Maastricht, the worlds greatest art fair. Moulin de la Galette will be exhibited by Dickinson of London and New York. TEFAF
(The European Fine Art Fair) will take place from 14-23 March 2014 in Maastricht in the southern Netherlands.
This is a painting that has everything, says James Roundell of Dickinson. It was painted in Paris during a hugely important period in Van Goghs life when he changed from painting sombre scenes of Dutch peasant life to producing brilliantly-coloured Post-Impressionist landscapes. It is rare to have such a prominent signature in a work of this date and it is one of only two of his series of paintings depicting windmills of Montmartre still in private hands, which was last exhibited in public in 1965.
TEFAF Maastricht is renowned for its commitment to excellence, expertise and elegance. This is reflected not only in the magnificent range of rare works that are offered for sale at the Fair, which takes place in the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre), but also in the number of art collectors, both private and institutional, who regard TEFAF as a must-see event in the art market calendar.
Van Gogh underwent a stunning artistic evolution in the two year period that followed his arrival in Paris to live with his brother Theo in 1886. Encouraged by Theo to emulate the Impressionists to make his work more saleable, he changed from producing Dutch rural scenes to painting some of the most innovative and expressive colourist paintings of all time. Moulin de la Galette was painted in April 1887 at the height of this process of conversion and was one of his series of pictures of windmills in the racy artistic quarter of Montmartre. This vibrant painting is signed by Van Gogh, which is rare.
Theo van Gogh did not long survive Vincents death in July 1890 and died the following January when ownership of Moulin de la Galette passed to his widow Johanna van Gogh-Bonger. The canny Johanna now owned Theos flat which was crammed full of Vincents paintings and letters. She was determined to make Vincent posthumously famous and set about organising a series of exhibitions of his work over the next few years of which the most crucial was a major show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1905. This cemented Van Goghs reputation as a vital force in Post-Impressionist painting and a label on the back of Moulin de la Galette reveals that it was included in the exhibition. The Parisian windmill scene helped make Van Goghs reputation but in 1906 Johanna gave it to the painter Isaac Israëls, who had been her lover for three years after Theos death, in exchange for a portrait.