Christie’s recently announced Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh (estimate in the region of $35 million) as one of the lead lots for its Impressionist and Modern sales in New York this May. The work was once owned by Elizabeth Taylor whose father, art dealer Francis Taylor, bought the picture for her in 1963 at auction for £92,000.
The painting comes to market, in part as a response to Christie’s sale last November of van Gogh’s Laboureur dans un champ, from the Bass collection which made $81.3 million against its original estimate of $50 million. Because this price was was just shy of the auction record for the artist, the van Gogh market has perked up more than a bit. Christie’s makes clear in its marketing materials the relationship between the two works:
Approximately one month after depicting Laboureur dans un champ, which nearly eclipsed the artist’s record in November, Vincent painted Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy. Unlike the canvas of the ploughman, which had been rendered indoors and from memory, he painted the chapel en plein air.
This luminous painting was included in several of Van Gogh’s most important early exhibitions. These groundbreaking shows, including the 1905 retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, were instrumental in the formation of his posthumous reputation. Having seen this painting in the landmark 1905 Van Gogh retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Paul Cassirer, the leading German gallerist of the time, placed it immediately afterwards in his own traveling exhibition, which alerted the German public, art critics, historians, and contemporary painters alike to the achievement of an artist who was rapidly achieving legendary status.