‘There are moments when nature is superb, autumnal effects glorious in colour… things that make you quite melancholy not to be able to render them,’ Van Gogh wrote to Theo.
Van Gogh is believed to have included Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy in the group of studies he dispatched to Theo in December 1889. Having seen the painting in the landmark 1905 Van Gogh retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Paul Cassirer, a leading German gallerist, placed it in his own travelling exhibition. On view in Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin, this show alerted the German public, art critics, historians and contemporary painters alike to the achievements of an artist who was rapidly attaining legendary status. In 1907, Cassirer acquired the painting from Theo’s widow.
Some 56 years later, the art dealer Francis Taylor purchased Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy at auction in London on behalf of his daughter Elizabeth, the Hollywood actress whose most famous film — the epic Cleopatra, co-starring Richard Burton — would premier just two months later. The painting remained in the living room of her Bel Air home until her death in 2011.
Previously Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy was sold at Christie's for GBP 10,121,250 on 7 February 2012.
On 15 May, Vue de l’asile will be offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in New York.
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