Vincent van Gogh, Dutch (worked in France), 1853–1890 Dutch
73 x 91.7 cm (28 3/4 x 36 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)
In June 1889, shortly after his arrival at an asylum in the southern French town of Saint-Rémy, van Gogh painted a riotous study of a flowering hillside. He sent a pen-and-ink copy of the painting to his brother in early July. Months later, in October, the artist found himself without fresh canvas on which to paint and decided to sacrifice the study of wild vegetation to paint this view of the mountainous ravine near the asylum. Recent collaborative research by conservators and curators has revealed the presence of the lost painting beneath the Boston canvas. For more on this discovery, see: http://www.mfa.org/dynamic/sub/ctr_link_url_5023.pdf.
1890, passed from the artist to his brother, Theo van Gogh (b. 1857 - d. 1891), Paris [see note 1]. By 1908, Prince Alexandre Berthier de Wagram (d. 1918), Paris. Barbazanges Art Gallery, Paris. By 1918, J. B. Stang, Oslo [see note 2]. 1926, Leicester Galleries, London [see note 3]. 1928, with Galerie Thannhauser, Lucerne and Berlin [see note 4]; 1928 or 1929, sold by Thannhauser to Keith McLeod, Boston [see note 5]; 1952, bequest of Keith McLeod to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 16, 1952)
 This painting can be identified with the "Ravine" sent by the artist to his brother in January of 1890. Paul Gauguin greatly admired the picture, and it is possible that Theo van Gogh exchanged it with him; Gauguin subsequently deposited his pictures with Chaudet and Amedée Schuffenecker, Paris, when he sailed for Tahiti.  Stang lent the picture to the exhibition "Den Franske Utstilling" (I Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, January-February, 1918), cat. no. 102.  The painting was exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, November - December 1926, cat. no. 24.  A letter from an unidentified individual (signature illegible) to Keith McLeod (August 26, 1928) in the MFA curatorial file discusses the Ravine, then in the possession of Thannhauser. He notes it had been brought from Lucerne.  The picture was lent by McLeod to the "First Loan Exhibition" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 8 - December 7, 1929, cat. no. 84.
Bequest of Keith McLeod