Paris (AFP)

One of the few Van Goghs still in private hands, dating from his Parisian period and showing the Butte Montmartre in a bucolic light, will be put on sale at the end of March by Sotheby's.

Dated 1887, painted during the two short years that Vincent van Gogh spent in Paris, this "Street scene in Montmartre" represents the Pepper mill, one of the mills of the Galette, behind palisades, against a background of sky. winter blue-gray.

In the foreground, a couple are walking and two children are playing.

The painting will be sold on March 25 by video by Sotheby's teams in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London.

His estimate is 5 to 8 million euros.

"The paintings in the Montmartre series are rare. It is very likely that it will generate a lot of interest from individuals, the great Van Gogh collectors who are everywhere, and perhaps also from institutions," he told AFP Aurélie Vandevoorde, director of the Impressionist art department.

In the itinerary of the Dutch painter (1853/1890), this painting marks a turning point, an expressionist beginning with a use of color aimed at creating an impression beyond the transcription of reality.

The painting was listed in catalogs (with black and white photos), but had never appeared since it was acquired by a French family around 1920.

The painting "will be exhibited first in Amsterdam, where the artist's greatest collectors are located, and will be studied by the Van Gogh Museum, which shows a real interest in the work", said Claudia Mercier, auctioneer of the Mirabaud Mercier house, to which the owners have entrusted the painting.

This house has partnered with Sotheby's for the sale.

The work will go to Hong Kong, then return to Paris to be presented at Drouot (March 16-18) and finally at Sotheby's (March 19-23), added Ms. Mercier.

"It is a testimony to Montmartre at the end of the XIXth century", underlined Aurélie Vandevoorde.

Parisians would go for a walk and have fun in the Moulin de la Galette park, but Van Gogh was more sensitive to the bucolic side than to the performance of cabarets.

The last Van Gogh auctioned off, Plowman in a Field (1889), reached $ 81 million in 2017 at Christie's in New York.

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