This drawing made by Vincent van Gogh in April 1882 in La Hague (Netherlands) represents a prostitute. In 1882, Vincent is 29 years old only and cast from his family home : after many professional failures, he then threw himself into his artwork and began a relationship with a low class prostitute named "Sien." She moved in with him and he became deeply empathetic with her own personal suffering. Van Gogh not only lovingly sketched her image, but because she was in poor health, he also took care of all her needs.
In 1886, at the age of 33, Van Gogh went to Paris and mingled with Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Seurat, and other painters who were later considered among the best. However, after two years of working among the Parisian artistic community, Van Gogh's delicate nervous system began to collapse. His friendship with Paul Gauguin was in Van Gogh's own words, "electric."
Many experts personally believe that the intense interest that today's society has for Van Gogh lies not only in the quality and the colours of his paintings, but in his ability to project his turbulent emotional experience onto the canvas. To my humble opinion, it is evident.
"Sorrow" belonged to the Rev. Theodor Pitcairn, son of the founder of the Pittsburgh Glass Cy. Theo Pitcairn became an art collector in 1921 and his first purchases were Mademoiselle Ravoux and Sorrow for $20,000. In 1966, Pitcairn summoned David Bathurst, director at Christie's London, to tell him he wanted to sell Mlle Ravoux and Sorrow on behalf of his foundation, Bryn Athyn, which he had founded in 1947. Sorrow went for $ 32,300 and Mlle Ravoux for $ 441,000. Forty years later, on February, 7, 2005, Sorrow went under the hammer again for $ 680,000. Vincent sold only one painting in his life.