Drawings made in The Hague by van Gogh early in his career offer unidealized portrayals of local people conditioned by hard circumstances, such as the almshouse residents or “orphan men.” These portraits, executed with a thick carpenter’s pencil, reflect the influence of print illustration in their simple outlines and use of crosshatching to indicate shadows. Van Gogh translated several of the “orphan men” drawings into lithographs, but this sheet seems never to have been used for that purpose, although it is lightly squared for transfer. The model was one of the residents of the Roman Catholic Orphanage and Old People’s Home.
Graphite on cream wove paper
ID Number: SC 1984:11