The Hague, November - December 1881 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
oil on paper on panel,
34 cm x 55 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
'Well, Mauve immediately installed me in front of a still life consisting of a couple of old clogs and other objects, and so I could set to work,' Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. He was training at the time under Anton Mauve, a famous artist and his cousin by marriage. In Mauve's studio, Vincent was permitted to paint this work in oils right away. For a student artist, this was a fairly rare opportunity.
The painting was primarily an exercise in colour, surfaces and brushwork. It must have been a great challenge for Van Gogh to convey the different textures of the tabletop, the potatoes and the fabric. It was his first attempt and shows no sign as yet of the characteristic Van Gogh style.