Printable version : BTP 19-2015
“Van Gogh assis, vu de dos” Asnières, winter 1886-1887
Aristotype, 132×160 mm, later mount, caption in ink by Bernard on the print, another handwriting on the folded mount.
Provenance : S. Clin, a collector of Émile Bernard’s paintings and memorabilia, who lent this unique print to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for the Émile Bernard exhibition, August-Nov. 1990.
Nevertheless, most photographic and digital copies still reproduce a post-1940’s version, printed from an inter-negative, the caption being partially hidden by a blank label. The first confirmed publication was in: Tralbaut, Van Gogh le mal aimé, Lausanne, 1969, page 210.
This aristotype, or collodion coated paper print, is the only vintage print known of the famous picture welcoming visitors at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Sitting in front of Vincent Van Gogh, Émile Bernard who wrote “mon portrait en 1886” (My Portrait in 1886). Only few objective elements can confirm
the identification, the grey felt hat, the shoulders (see Pissarro, p.5). Émile Bernard
is said to have only few friends. The tree has no leaves, the weather could be cold. The date in the long second
caption says 1887. In the Van Gogh correspondence, mentions of Asnières start only in 1887.
Who could have taken the picture? Paul Signac is knwn as a friend of both but no evidence of any photographic activity about 1887 could be found.