Like many painters in France in the latter part of the nineteenth century, Van Gogh often chose as his subjects ordinary people doing ordinary things--including women, young and old, knitting. Following are what I believe to be all his known paintings and sketches of knitters. As always, click the images to embiggen.
Girl Sitting, Knitting 1882 and Girl Standing, Knitting 1882
Woman at the Window, Knitting sketch 1882
Van Gogh often included sketches in his letters, particularly in his letters to his brother, Theo, as here.
Woman at the Window, Knitting watercolor 1882
I have not been able to find a color version of this painting, and as the location of the original is unknown, this may be the only available image. I can only imagine the tiny splashes of color from buds of the emerging flowers in the pots on the windowsill. Yellow, I think.
Scheveningen Woman Knitting sketch 1881
Scheveningen Woman Knitting watercolor 1881
I enjoy comparing and contrasting the sketches and the painting of the same or similar subject.
Can you spot the common item in all five works where the knitter is seated--other than the knitting?
N.B. Scheveningen is a district of The Hague in the Netherlands.
"I wonder what is the green/yellow thing at her waist? It appears as though the yarn is in her pocket."
Good question. I agree that the yarn is in her pocket, as you can see in the enlarged detail above. You can just make out the strand of yarn running from her needles to her bulgy pocket on the left. It looks to me as though the green/yellow thing is the stocking or sleeve she is knitting, rolled up to keep it out of the way as she knits, something we've probably all done at one time or another in our knitting lives.
Can you imagine the wife of a US President sitting down to spin at a charkha?
Can you imagine a country putting an image of the wife of a US President sitting down to spin at a charkha on a postage stamp?
This stamp of Eleanor Roosevelt (activist and inveterate knitter) was issued by India in 1963 to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Roosevelt's role in its passage.
Roosevelt was such a knitter that the official White House portrait of her includes an image of her knitting hands.