© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Van Gogh was the son of a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, which urged emotional spirituality and social activism; the artist was deeply influenced by such values as a result. After abandoning realism and impressionism, he decided—just weeks after this drawing was made—to use “color more arbitrarily, in order to express [himself] more forcibly.” Boldly geometric in construction, The Blue Cart inaugurated a series of drawings and paintings of harvest that he executed near Arles, in Provence, while he was in search of a singularly personal expression that would be true to his intense, almost violent experience of nature. At the same time, he dreamed of establishing an artistic community in the south of France “with the purpose of realizing a collective idea.”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1943.279
People
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch (Groot Zundert (Zundert), The Netherlands 1853 - 1890 Auvers-sur-Oise, France)
Title
The Blue Cart
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Harvest at La Crau
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
1888
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Graphite, black chalk, oil pastel(?), brown ink, watercolor, and gouache on tan laid paper
Dimensions
39.4 x 52.3 cm (15 1/2 x 20 9/16 in.)
frame: 63.5 × 75.6 cm (25 × 29 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Inscribed, graphite (barely visible in middleground field at right): vert clair --- (illegible)
Provenance
Wilhelmina van Gogh. [Artz en De Bois, The Hague, July-September 1912]; Erich Schall, Berlin. P. Seligmann, Cologne. F. Haniel, Wistinghausen. [Wildenstein and Co., New York, 30 November 1931], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, bequest; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
1943
Object Number
1943.279
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Meyer Schapiro, Vincent (New York, n.d.), pg. 80

Julius Meier-Graefe, Auguste Renoir, Mit hundert Abbildungen, R. Piper & Co Verlag (Munich, Germany, 1911), vol. 2, pl. 44

Jacob Baart de la Faille, L'oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: catalogue raisonné, Les Editions G. van Oest (Paris, 1928), vol. 3, no. 1484, vol. 4, pl. 166

Julius Meier-Graefe, Vincent van Gogh: Der Zeichner, O. Wacker (Berlin, 1928), pl. 20

Wilhelm Uhde, Vincent van Gogh, Editions Phaidon (Vienna, Austria, 1936), repr. no. 45

René Huyghe, Van Gogh, Braun (Paris, 1937), pl. 15

Douglas Cooper, Drawings and Watercolours by Vincent van Gogh, Macmillan, Inc. (New York, 1955), no. 22

Vincent van Gogh, The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh (Greenwich, CT, 1958), vol. 2, no. 496

Ira Moskowitz and Maurice Sérullaz, Drawings of the Masters: French Impressionists, Shorewood Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1962), pl. 107

Mark Roskill, "Van Gogh's 'Blue Cart' and His Creative Process", Oud Holland, Netherlands Institute for Art History ('s-Gravenhage, 1966), vol. 81, pp. 3-20, pl. 2

Dorothy W. Gillerman, Gridley McKim-Smith, and Joan R. Mertens, Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1969), cat. no. 124, repr.

Jacob Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent Van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings, Reynal (New York, NY, 1970), no. F1484

Paolo Lecaldano, L'Opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh, Rizzoli Books (Milan, Italy, 1971), pg. 209, no. 523B, repro.

Charles W. Millard, "A Chronology for Van Gogh's Drawings of 1888", Master Drawings, Master Drawings Association (New York, Summer 1974), vol. 12, no. 2, pg. 159, pl. 26

Louis van Tilborgh, Van Gogh and Millet, exh. cat., Waanders Uitgevers (Zwolle, 1989), pg. 68, n. 1

Eric M. Rosenberg and Miriam Stewart, The Harvest of 1830: The Barbizon Legacy, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 22

Johannes van der Wolk and Ronald Pickvance, Vincent van Gogh: Drawings, exh. cat., Arnoldo Mondadori Arte (Milan, 1990), pg. 225, fig. 33

Evert van Uitert, Louis van Tilborgh, and Sjraar van Heugten, Vincent van Gogh: Paintings, exh. cat., Arnoldo Mondadori Arte and De Luca Edizioni d'Arte (Milan and Rome, 1990), pg. 122, fig. 46a

J. F. Heijbroek and E. L. Wouthuysen, Kunst, Kennis en Commercie: De Kunsthandelaar J.H. de Bois (1878-1946), Contact (Amsterdam, 1993), pp. 40, repro, 205

Richard Mühlberger, What Makes a Van Gogh a Van Gogh?, Metropolitan Museum of Art / Viking (New York, 1993), repr. p. 24 (color); detail repr. p 25 (color)

Elizabeth Nicoline Heenk, "Vincent Van Gogh's Drawings: An Analysis of their Production and Uses" (Thesis, Courtauld Institute, University of London, 1995), Unpublished, p. 173

Griselda Pollock and Fred Orton, Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England, 1996), repr. fig. 15

Jan Hulsker, The new complete Van Gogh: paintings, drawings, sketches: revised and enlarged, J. M. Meulenhoff (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1996), repr. no. 1438

Impressionist and Modern Art, Part 1, auct. cat., Sotheby's, London (June 24, 1997), fig. 1, under no. 7

Richard Kendall, Van Gogh's Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1998), repr. fig. 27

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (New York, NY, 2003), cat. no. 46, repr. (color), frontispiece (color), p. 34

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 46, repr.

Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein, Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2005), under cat. no. 62, fig. 141 (color)

Dr. Klaus Albrecht Schröder and Heinz Widauer, Van Gogh: Heartfelt Lines, exh. cat., Albertina (Vienna, 2008), p. 298 ill. 1

Louis-Antoine Prat, Le dessin français au XIXe siècle, Somogy Éditions d'Art (Paris, 2011), p. 563, repr. p. 563 as fig. 1356 [with incorrect location]

Hein-Thomas Schulze Altcappenberg and Anna Marie Pfäfflin, Romantik und Moderne: Zeichnung als Kunstform von Caspar David Friedrich bis Vincent van Gogh, exh. cat., Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin, 2016), p. 74, repr. p. 75 as pl. 7

Jan Blanc, Van Gogh: Ni Dieu Ni Maître, Éditions Citadelles & Mazenod (Paris, 2017), pp. 158-159, repr. p. 158 as ill. 146

Exhibition History

19th Secession Exhibition, Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 01/01/1909 - 01/01/1910

Chinese sculpture, bronzes, jades, paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art : selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/01/1943 - 02/28/1944

Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/23/1969 - 03/31/1969

The Harvest of 1830: the Barbizon Legacy, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/25/1990 - 10/21/1990

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 03/15/2003 - 05/26/2003; National Gallery, London, 06/25/2003 - 09/14/2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu