EXHIBITIONS PICTURE OF THE WEEK; Sorrow (1882). by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). New Art Gallery, Walsall
Some years ago this well-known drawing by van Gogh turned up in a Channel 4 quiz programme in which art experts were challenged to identify works in British public collections from small details.
None of the panellists were able to identify it, but one of them commented ruefully: "I knew what it was, but I couldn't believe it was in a British collection."
Possibly the most important single item among the 350-odd works in the Garman Ryan Collection, given to Walsall by Lady Epstein in 1974 and now rehoused in the magnificent New Art Gallery, this early drawing was sent by van Gogh
to his brother Theo with the note "enclosed is what in my opinion is the best figure I have yet drawn".
The model is a woman called Clasina Maria Hoornik, known as Sien, whom van Gogh had taken into his home when she was pregnant and working as a prostitute.
As well as the English title "Sorrow", the drawing is inscribed with a quotation in French from the French social historian MJ Michelet: "How can there be on earth a woman alone, abandoned?'
The drawing, which van Gogh later turned into a lithograph for popular distribution, reflects the element of Victorian moralising in his early social realist work, which followed periods working as a teacher in Ramsgate and a missionary among the poor in Belgium.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 0121 303 2834: Visions of Birmingham: The planners' dream and the people's reality 1900-2030. Until Feb 28; Landscape Watercolours 1760-1830. Until Feb 28; Images of Christ. Until April 30; Gas Hall: 20th Century Art. The largest display ever mounted of the city's modern art collection. Until March 4 (Mon-Thur, Sat 10am-5pm, Fri 10.30am-5pm, Sun 12.30pm-5pm).
Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace 0121 248 0708: Lost. An international exhibition of sculpture, painting, photography and installations curated by artist Tania Kovats. Until April 2 (Tues-Sun 11am-6pm).
Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham University 0121 414 7333: Royal Riding Lessons. A rare outing from the Barber's archives for a set of etchings by Crispin de Passe recording Louis XIII's equestrian pastimes. Until March 24 (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2pm-5pm).
MAC, Cannon Hill Park 0121 440 3838: A Deluge of Human Indifference. New drawings by Gerald Davies. Until March 5; Surface Tension. Photographs by Robert Davies. Ends tomorrow; Woven Water. Tapestries by Bobbie Cox inspired by Devon waterways. Ends tomorrow; A Way of Life: Portraits of the Funeral Trade. Photographs by Len Grant. Until March 12 (Daily noon-8pm).
Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre 01203 524524: Fresh Masala. …