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Leursestraat, Dorp, A 82

The house Piet Kaufman lived in no longer exists. It was located on the site of the current Stationsstraat 61.

Van Gogh in

Kaufmann

  1. 30 Apr. 1881
     - 27 Nov. 1881

Piet Kaufmann (1864–1940), the Van Gogh family’s gardener, often acted as a model for Vincent in 1881 – between thirty and fifty times, by his own account. On the advice of people including the artist Anton Mauve, Vincent had begun actively drawing from live models in September. It was difficult, however, to find people willing to poses he demanded from them:

“But what a business it is to get people to understand what posing is! Peasants and townsfolk desperately cling to an idea they won’t give up, namely that one shouldn’t pose other than in one’s Sunday suit with impossible folds in which neither knee nor elbow nor shoulder blades nor any other part of the body has made its characteristic dent or hump. Truly, this is one of the petty vexations in the life of a draughtsman.” Read the complete letter

He added:

“I also hope to succeed in finding a good model, such as Piet Kaufmann the labourer, though I think it will be better not to have him pose here at the house, but either in the yard at his place or in the field with a spade or plough or something else.” Read the complete letter

It is almost certain that Kaufmann served as the model for the works Boy Cutting Grass with a Sickle, two Diggers, The Sower and Kneeling Man, Planting. Although Vincent always enquired how much money he wished to receive, Kaufman said that he always posed for free.

Made here

Boy cutting grass with a sickle, 1881

Boy cutting grass with a sickle, 1881

Mixed technique on paper, 46,6 x 60,4 cm

Kröller-Müller Museum Otterlo

Digger, 1881

Digger, 1881

Mixed technique on paper

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

Digger, 1881

Digger, 1881

Mixed technique on paper

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

    Relevant letters from Vincent

    Continue reading

    1. J.A. Rozemeyer

      Van Gogh in Etten
      Etten-­Leur, 2003
    2. Evert van Uitert

      Van Gogh in Brabant: schilderijen en tekeningen uit Etten en Nuenen
      Zwolle, 1987