Van Gogh’s Le moissonneur to make $21.1m?

Vincent Van Gogh’s seminal Le moissonneur (d’après Millet) is one of the lead lots of Christie’s London's upcoming Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale.

The 1889 canvas is a reworking of a painting by Jean-Francois Millet, one of Van Gogh’s favourite artists, showing a reaper working the fields.

It’s valued at £12.5m-16.5m ($15.9m-21.1m).

Van Gogh Reaper

This Van Gogh painting is a re-imagining of a drawing by Jean-Francois Millet

Millet’s original painting is from a series of 10 drawings known as Les Travaux des champs.

Van Gogh painted all of them at the asylum in Saint Remy in 1889, while recovering from the breakdown that saw him cut off part of his own ear.

As he was unable to leave the grounds to get inspiration for new work, he decided to re-imagine the black and white illustrations in glorious colour.

In all other aspects they are remarkably faithful to the originals.

Of these 10 canvases, seven are in the permanent collection of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.

Only three are in circulation, including the present lot.

While they are less well known than some of his other paintings, these Millet versions have long been admired.

Van Gogh’s art dealer brother Theo, writing to him in 1890, said: “The Millet copies are perhaps the finest things you’ve ever done”.

The sale will also feature important work from Picasso and Monet.

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