Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Arles, February 1888
oil on canvas,
58 cm x 42 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh painted this woman while staying in the Carrel hotel in the southern French city of Arles. It is probably Elisabeth Garcin, the hotel owner's mother-in-law. She was 68 years old at the time. The knotted black kerchief on her head was a typical part of a widow's mourning dress. Part of a bed can be seen in the background.
Throughout his life, Van Gogh liked to paint things and people that bore the marks of a hard life. This figure study can be seen in that context.