The Old Tower in the Fields


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The Old Tower in the Fields by Vincent van Gogh
The Old Tower in the Fields
Oil on canvas on cardboard
35 × 47 cm (13.75 × 18.5 in)
Private collection
Painted July 1884, Nuenen
F 40, JH 507

"And have also been working again on the old tower in the fields in the evening; I’ve made a larger study of it than my previous ones — with the wheatfields around it."
Letter to Theo van Gogh, circa 20 July 1884

Another view of the church tower at Nuenen, again idealized to a large degree as the tower was falling apart and soon to be demolished, as explained in the listing for The Old Church Tower at Nuenen (F 88, JH 490). As is so common with the oldest works that often are in private collections, the images are not perfect and there is some discrepancy in what you may find. Photography of paintings is difficult and in references most show the work with an overall red tone, but some present it with a cool, green tone. Vincent tells Theo it is an evening scene but dusk can appear glowing red or dusky green, so it is unclear which is the correct portrayal. For that reason we have included both in this post. Though the red version is much more common the darker tone looks more accurate and painterly, in our opinion, and therefore is presented first.

PROVENANCE
Oldenzeel Art Gallery, Rotterdam (1903-5);
Jan Smit, Alblasserdam, Netherlands (Acquired circa 1905);
Sale Smit, Amsterdam (Mak van Waay) 10 February 1919;
M. Rutgers, The Hague;
Sale Sotheby's, London (9 July 1958);
W. J. Holliday, Indianapolis;
Sale Sotheby's, London (10 December 1969);
Brook Street Gallery, London;
Private collection.

Alternate Image
The Old Tower in the Fields by Vincent van Gogh alternate red tone image