Arantza de Areilza

A little-known work by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is being exhibited publicly for the first time at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Strolling Couple has been kept in private collections for decades and shows a man and woman leaning towards each other while walking on a path next to a canal, her arm over his shoulder.

Vangoghcouplecp3839448_2 Strolling Couple (1888) by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is is a small piece of what remains of a larger canvas the artist discarded as a failure.
(Van Gogh Museum/Associated Press)

The artist painted it in March 1888, two years before his suicide. It’s a small part of a larger canvas he discarded because he didn’t like what he had created.

"He cut it out carefully and kept it, so there must have been some element, something special that he saw in it," said Nienke Bakker, a researcher from the museum who helped to organize the display. The exhibit is a tribute to van Gogh’s friendship with French painter Emile Bernard.

Van Gogh described his ideas for the painting to Bernard in a letter.

"I am sending you a little sketch of a study that is preoccupying me," van Gogh wrote. "Sailors coming back with their sweethearts toward the town, which projects the strange silhouette of its drawbridge against a huge yellow sun."

A reproduction of the sketch is displayed next to the painting.

The sketch contains notations of the colours van Gogh intended to use, down to the word "jaune" French for "yellow"on the man’s hat. The canal water is emerald green, as van Gogh had planned.

The painter would eventually do more canvasses portraying the same bridge outside Arles, France, from different perspectives.

Van Gogh started painting at age 27 but was largely unrecognized for his talent during his lifetime, save for a few friends and his brother Theo.

The artist, who suffered from debilitating bouts of depression, at one point cut off his ear.

He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1890 at age 37.

With files from the Associated Press

CBC News


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