Vincent van Gogh (Dutch (worked in France), 1853–1890)
62.5 x 84.4 cm (24 5/8 x 33 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)
Van Gogh’s feeling for the working poor is evident from his earliest works. In 1883-84, he executed at least twenty-eight oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors of the weavers in the district near his family’s home in the Netherlands. His interest was aroused not only by the subject, but by the somber effect of the dark wood and gray walls, contrasting with the red cloth on the loom.
1884, with the artist but said to be owned by his brother, Theo van Gogh (b. 1857 - d. 1891), Paris [see note 1]; 1885, probably left by the artist in Nuenen and in 1886, deposited with Adrianus Schrauwen (b. 1834 - d. 1920), Breda; 1902, sold by Schrauwen to Johannis Cornelis Couvreur and his brother, Johannes Marinus Couvreur; sold by the Couvreurs to Kees Mouwen (b. 1853 - d. 1913 or 1914), Breda; 1903, probably sold by Mouwen through Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, Rotterdam [see note 2]. Mrs. C. Dekker-Fortanier, The Hague [see note 3]; Miss Nelly Dekker, The Hague; Mrs. C. Dekker-Weinberg, Wassenaar. By 1957, Bernard Houthakker, Amsterdam [see note 4]; 1958, sold by Bernard Houthakker to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 10, 1958) NOTES:  In a letter of about April 1, 1884, when this painting was still in progress, Vincent wrote to his brother Theo of "studies which are your property, which I will send you if you like, but if you don't care to have them, I will ask you if I may keep them sometime, as I need them for my work. The one is a large weaver, who weaves a piece of red cloth...." About a month later (about May 1, 1884), Vincent mentioned the painting as still being in his care. See J.-B. de la Faille, "The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings" (Amsterdam, 1970), cat. no. F29 (letters no. 364 and 367).  Martha Op de Coul, "In Search of Van Gogh's Nuenen Studio," Van Gogh Museum Journal, 2002, p. 115, has identified the MFA painting with the Weaver exhibited at Oldenzeel from November 1 to December 13, 1903 (no. 12). This was evidently part of a group of works that Van Gogh had left in Nuenen, which were later packed and deposited with Adrianus Schrauwen, who then sold them. When they came into the possession of Kees Mouwen, they may have been owned jointly with Willem van Bakel (b. 1866); see pp. 107-109.  The information about the Dekker family is taken from De la Faille, 1970 (as above, n. 1). In earlier editions of De la Faille's catalogue, Nelly Dekker is given as the earliest owner, and Mrs. C. Dekker-Fortanier is listed second.  The dealer Houthakker wrote to MFA director Perry T. Rathbone (March 26, 1958) that the painting came "from the collection of Nelly Dekker, The Hague, and her heirs." In a subsequent letter (June 7, 1958), Houthakker mentioned other objects from the Dekker collection that he was selling.
Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund