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Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Bonnet, 1885

Vincent van Gogh

Dutch, 1853-1890
Oil on canvas
18-1/2 x 13-3/4 in. (47.0 x 35.0 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Fueled by his revolutionary politics, Van Gogh set out to paint a series of fifty “Heads of the People” in 1882, drawing inspiration for these grave, frontal portraits from the German Renaissance masters Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. He resumed work on the project in 1884 and 1885, while living with his parents in the small town of Nuenen, where he used local peasants as models. Probably painted in April 1885, this head belongs to the planned series but also represents the artist’s mistress, Sien de Groot. Coarse, aggressive handling and a blunt, muddy palette underscore Van Gogh’s commitment to paint pictures “from the people, for the people.”

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