Van Gogh Painting Sells for $40 Million

A painting of the cafe owner from Arles, Madame Ginoux has made $40.3 million USD at a Christies art auction in New York recently. The 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh was expected to reach between $40 and $50 million.
The work was extensively marketed to major art collectors around the world, but there was only two bidders fighting over the rare portrait by the Dutchman.
So, in an absurd kind of way, it was probably a bargain for such an important work. I should have put in a bid! ;-)
In 1990 Van Gogh’s “Dr. Gachet” went for $82.5 million.

vincent van gogh painting

There were 50 works in the Christies sale, with only seven not finding a new home. Which means that 43 modern and impressionist paintings sold for $180.2 million.
Another important work will go up for auction tonight. Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar With Cat is expected to reach $50 million.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a press release by Christies auction house about the Van Gogh painting..

    New York – On May 2, Christie’s New York will lead the
    impressionist and modern art collecting world to new heights
    when Van Gogh’s magnificent painting L’Arlésienne, Madame
    Ginoux, will be offered during the Impressionist and Modern
    Art evening sale at Rockefeller Center. From the Bakwin
    Family Collection, L’Arlésienne is expected to realize in excess
    of $40 million, and to take a key position in the impressive
    group of paintings by Van Gogh that have been sold by
    Christie’s in New York and London over the years.
    L’Arlésienne is the most important painting from a series of five oils that Van Gogh executed in
    February 1890 as an homage to his good friend and collaborator Paul Gauguin, and the only painting of
    the series which was intended specifically for Gauguin himself.

    Van Gogh painted this masterwork during a period of deep nostalgia in his life when the intense
    collaboration with Gauguin had abruptly ended and the artist was institutionalized in the asylum of St.-
    Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Through his work on the Arlésienne series, Van Gogh
    revived a less isolated existence than the one which he was living in Saint-Rémy and he perceived the
    creation of these paintings as a symbolical connection to Gauguin with whom he was still
    Madame Marie Ginoux, the subject of the present work, was proprietress of the Café de la Gare on
    place Lamartine, an establishment frequented by both Van Gogh and Gauguin during their time in
    Arles. Both artists regularly used local residents as models and in November 1888, they persuaded
    Marie Ginoux to pose for a series of sketches. In the present depiction of Madame Ginoux, where
    she is shown against a floral background and wearing a pink and white dress with a green bodice,
    Van Gogh diverted from his own, somewhat more expressive sketch and adopted a treatment that
    was closer in style to that of Gauguin’s original sketch from the initial sitting. The painting -
    executed in a soft palette – possesses an overt femininity. Madame Ginoux appears refined and
    slightly bemused, her eyes are lucid and even the books she is reading—Charles Dickens’ Christmas
    Stories and what is believed to be Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin—seem to appeal to
    feminine sensibilities.
    On 17 June 1890, van Gogh wrote of the present work to Gauguin, “…it gives me enormous
    pleasure when you say the Arlésienne’s portrait, which was based strictly on your drawing, is to your
    liking. I tried to be respectfully faithful to your drawing, while nevertheless taking the liberty of
    interpreting through the medium of color the sober character and the style of the drawing in
    question. It is a synthesis of the Arlésiennes, if you like; as syntheses of the Arlésiennes are rare,
    take this as a work belonging to you and me as a summary of our months of work together.”

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