Starry Night. Sunflowers. Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. The paintings of Vincent van Gogh—from the most beloved to the lesser known—are mostly held in museums around the world. There are very few exceptions, and one of them is Scène de Rue à Montmartre, currently on display in Paris ahead of its sale at Sotheby’s later this month.
The 1887 painting, one of roughly 200 that Van Gogh made during his two years in Paris (he died in 1890), was purchased around 1920 by a French collector and stayed in private hands until now. Expected to sell for $6 to $10 million, it’s never before been shown to the public.
Scène de Rue à Montmartre depicts the 18th Arrondissement’s Moulin à Poivre, with the decorations of the more popular Moulin de la Galette just visible in the background. One of a series that sees Van Gogh documenting the hill of Montmartre, where he lived, the painting offers a snapshot of the Paris of the time, when the city’s obsolete 17th-century windmills were the “It” places for drinking and meeting friends. With much of Paris still shuttered, it’s a poetic look at another era. —Julia Vitale
Scène de Rue à Montmartre, by Vincent van Gogh, is on display at Sotheby’s Paris, where it will go on sale on March 25