Portrait of Trabuc


Oil on canvas panel: 61cm x 45.6cm
Signed and dated by the artist J Walker
Catalogue reference: CK-jj013

‘Copy of a copy’ of Charles-Elzéard Trabuc an attendant at Saint-Paul Hospital. Originally painted by Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890). Vincent painted this portrait and one of Trabuc’s wife presenting them to the pair as gifts. The originals are lost, but Vincent made copies of each for his brother, Theo. It is the copies which survive. Walker considers this to be Van Gogh’s most accomplished portrait.

Saint-Rémy: September, 1889

“Yesterday I began the portrait of the head attendant, and perhaps I shall do his wife too, for he is married and lives in a little house a few steps away from the establishment. “A very interesting face, there is a fine etching by Legros, representing an old Spanish grandee, if you remember it, that will give you an idea of the type. He was at the hospital in Marseilles through two periods of cholera, altogether he is a man who has seen an enormous amount of suffering and death, and there is a sort of contemplative calm in his face, so that I can’t help being reminded of Guizot’s face-for there is something of that in his head, but different. But he is one of the people, and simpler. Anyway, you will see it if I succeed with it and if I make a duplicate.”[1]

Letter 604
Vincent Van Gogh
5 or 6 September 1889

Free delivery for orders over 2000 €
Sent by DHL or equivalent
Artwork shipping worldwide

Secure payment

Via Stripe

The work is available

for collection in the gallery

Try the artwork for free

for 14 days

Artist’s notes:

There is little doubt that Vincent Van Gogh is a text book example of the trials and tribulations of a struggling artist (arguably the art worlds most famous frustrated artist archetype). His body of work, troubled health and wealth of correspondence with his brother Theo providing a privileged insight into the life of one of the 20th centuries most influential artists, even if said influence occurred almost entirely after his death.

The title of this work is a reference to the fact that the portrait was painted (copied) to better understand the techniques and mind of the man that painted it. It’s also a wry nod to Vincent’s endless and fruitless quest to make a living from his art and the enormous disparity that now exists between the initial and current value (culturally and economically) put on his works of art.

It is understood that artworks by Van Gogh are now in the public domain (Vincent Van Gogh died in 1890) and reproductions of his work can be sold as long as they are not claimed as original works by the artist.

References: [1] Dunlop, Ian Van Gogh (George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd. and Book Club Associates, 1974) pp 184-185

Related Works

All Artworks