Van Gogh liked to work with people from a nursing home. The drawings in this series clearly indicate Vincent’s notable progress, compared to attempts made, say, a year earlier. Persistent work has borne fruit, and his artistic skills actually became more mature. In early 1883, Van Gogh used the same theme – the elderly – but now they are already in the image of life-seeing sailors. It achieves the desired effect with a shabby southwest and a raincoat.
Van Gogh created at least eight portraits of the fishing series. Syaar Van Hoygten of the Van Gogh Museum believes that Adrian Jacob Zuijderland served as a model for the two portraits of the series: Fisherman in the southwest with a pipe and Rybak in the southwest with a pipe seated.
Vincent Van Gogh was a passionate admirer of portraiture, and paints people without any effort, both in pencil and oil. Since his childhood, Vincent empathized with the poor, and therefore most of his work is dedicated to people who are deprived. Both series of drawings are built on a bright contrast: on the one hand – the rugged realism of wise people with life-changing drinks, on the other – sympathy and compassion, mitigating the coarseness of the plot.