How did Vincent van Gogh travel?

      03-10-2021     Comments (0)

Van Gogh was born in 1853 and died in 1890. He traveled a lot. Not only within The Netherlands, but also to England, Belgium and France. There were no cars and no planes, so he took the boat to England, a train from Paris to Arles, went in a coach from Arles to paint the Mediterranean in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. And traveled on a barge in Drenthe, enjoying the view of the heath. Today 138 years ago, on 3 October 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote from Nieuw-Amsterdam (countryside not Amsterdam): "My dear Theo, This time I’m writing to you from the very back of beyond in Drenthe, where I arrived after an endless trip through the heath on the barge. I see no way of describing the countryside to you as it should be done, because words fail me. But imagine the banks of the canal as miles and...

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How many self-portraits did Van Gogh paint?

      02-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh painted 35 self-portraits. It was not easy for him to find models. Using a mirror he was able to paint himself, which he did no less than 25 times when he lived in Paris. Today 140 years ago, at beginning of October 1881, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Etten in The Netherlands: "I want to tell you what I’ve done since I last wrote to you. First of all, two large drawings (chalk and some sepia) of Pollard willows.. Then I had a model a couple of times, digger and basket-maker… I count myself very lucky to be able to get models, I’m also searching around for a horse and donkey." Digger Etten, October 1881 Charcoal, chalk, watercolour, on paper 62.2 x 46.8 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam...

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What were Van Gogh’s good work habits?

      01-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh met the young artist Émile Bernard (1868 - 1941) in Paris at age 33. Bernard was only 18 years old at the time and Vincent advised him how to live in order to work successfully.. Today 133 years ago, between 27 September and 1 October 1888, Van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "But in order to do good work you have to eat well, be well housed, have a screw from time to time, smoke your pipe and drink your coffee in peace. I’m not saying that the rest counts for nothing, and leave everyone free to do as he sees fit, but I do say that this system seems preferable to many others to me.” Photo: Émile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh (his back to the camera) along the Seine in Asnières. You may also like to read: Van Gogh and Emile Bernard Émile...

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How many sowers did Van Gogh paint?

      30-09-2021     Comments (0)

Van Gogh made more than 30 drawings and paintings on with sowers. Jean-François Millet was a big inspiration for Vincent. Both artists portrayed peasants and painting them showed that they were proud of being from the countryside. Today 137 years ago, on 30 September 1884, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "My dear Theo, I send you herewith two photographs — you’ll get another two of weavers later. I was planning to have 12 photographs taken, a series of Brabant scenes, including the 6 that I’m making for Hermans.” Van Gogh sent photographs of a woman spinning and a sower. The paintings themselves are not known, we only know of them thanks to these two small photographs. 4 years later Van Gogh painted The Sower: The Sower Arles, 1888 32.5 x 40.3 cm Van Gogh Museum,...

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Did Van Gogh like music?

      29-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh liked Wagner’s music and he even took piano lessons in Eindhoven. Sometimes he compared his paintings with music. Would he have painted Starry Night over the Rhone with Wagner’s opera on his mind? Today 133 years ago, on 29 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I wouldn’t be surprised if you liked the starry night (over the Rhône, VGS) and the ploughed fields — they’re calmer than some other canvases. If the work always went like that I’d have fewer worries about money, because people would come to it more easily if the technique continued to be more harmonious. But this bloody mistral is a real nuisance for doing brushstrokes that hold together and intertwine well, with feeling, like a piece of music played with emotion.”...

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How many versions of "Wheat Field with Cypresses” did Van Gogh paint?

      28-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh painted 3 versions of Wheat Field with Cypresses. One resides in The Met in NY , one in the National Gallery in London . And there is a third, smaller one, in private collection. Today 132 years ago, on 28 September 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "Soon I’m sending you a few smaller canvases with the 4 or 5 studies I wanted to give to Mother and our sister. These studies are drying at the moment. It’s no. 10 and no. 12 canvases, reductions of the Wheatfield and cypresses, Olive trees, Reaper and Bedroom and a little portrait of me." The Wheat Field with Cypresses Vincent mentions here is a smaller version (51,5 x 65 cm) than the famous versions in The Met in NY and the National Gallery in London. It is in private collection and...

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Was Van Gogh a food lover?

      27-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh preferred to spend his brother’s financial support on canvas and paint rather than expensive restaurants. He did like a nice restaurant though and an empty stomach wouldn’t lead to beautiful paintings. Today 133 years ago, between 27 September and 1 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "I’m beginning to believe more and more that food has something to do with our power to think and to make paintings; as for me, it doesn’t contribute to the success of my work if my stomach’s bothering me.” Earlier that year: "I’ve found a better restaurant where I eat for 1 franc.” This was Restaurant Vénissac on place Lamartine, where Van Gogh ate every day (at least in August and September). It was next door to the...

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Did Van Gogh and Gauguin work together?

      26-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were roommates, exchanged paintings, painted together, painted each other, wrote each other letters, discussed art and worked together by painting the same topic: Breton Women. Today 133 years ago, on 26 September 1888, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Pont-Aven: "I’ve just done a religious painting, very badly done, but which was interesting to do, and which I like. I wanted to give it to the church at Pont-Aven. They don’t want it, of course. Breton women, grouped together, are praying; costumes very intense black. The yellow-white bonnets very luminous.” Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret each painted their version of Breton women. The painting on this page is Van Gogh’s: Breton Women and Children Arles,...

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Was Van Gogh jealous of Milliet?

      25-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh admired lieutenant Paul Eugène Milliet (‘The lover’) for his way with women. He confesses to Theo: ‘Milliet’s lucky, he has all the Arlésiennes he wants, but there you are, he can’t paint them, and if he was a painter he wouldn’t have any.’ In this portrait he depicts him as the prototype of a lover. Today 133 years ago, on 25 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "As long as autumn lasts I won’t have enough hands, canvas or colours to paint the beautiful things that I see. I’m also working on the portrait of Milliet, but he poses badly, or else it’s my fault, which I don’t believe, however, because I badly need some studies of him because he’s good-looking, very jaunty, very easy-going in his...

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Did Van Gogh use varnish?

      24-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh preferred a matt finish and not use varnish. He did recommend Theo to use varnish in a particular situation though. Today 138 years ago, on 24 September 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Hoogeveen: "Today I’m sending a package of 3 studies which I hope are dry enough. However, if they stick to the sheet of paper I laid on them as a precaution, soak them off with lukewarm water. The smallest one, in particular, has sunk in a lot, go over it with the white of an egg in about a week, or some varnish in a month’s time, to lift them. I’m sending them to let you take a look, and better after this — really.” Quite possible “Cottages” was part of this shipment. Cottages Nieuw Amsterdam, 1883 Oil on canvas 35.4 x 55.7 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You...

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Did Van Gogh need friends?

      23-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh had good friends like the Postman Joseph Roulin, the paint grinder Père Tanguy and fellow artists Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. Yet he was fine being on his own at home, he was not dependent on their company. Today 133 years ago, on 23 (or 24) September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "A weaver, a basket-maker, often spends entire seasons alone, or almost alone, with his work as his only pastime. But what makes those people stay where they are is precisely the feeling of the house, the reassuring, familiar look of things. Of course I’d like company, but if I don’t have it I won’t be unhappy on that account, and then, above all, the time will come when I’ll have someone. I have little doubt about that. Now in your home too, I believe that if one is willing...

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How many drawings did Van Gogh do?

      22-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s drawings are not as famous as his paintings, but he created no less than 1100 drawings. Van Gogh saw the importance of drawings for his painting skills and under some circumstances like strong wind drawing was an excellent alternative to painting. Today 138 years ago, on or about 22 September 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Hoogeveen: "And I’ve also started pen drawings again, specifically with a view to painting, because one can go into such details with the pen as painted studies cannot do, and one does well to make two studies, one entirely drawn for the way things are put together, and one painted for the colour. If this can be done, that is, and the occasion permits, this is a way of working up the painted study later.” It is not possible to determine exactly which...

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Who was Van Gogh’s role model?

      21-09-2021     Comments (0)

The paint grinder Julien (Père) Tanguy in Paris was not only a father figure and good friend of Vincent van Gogh. Père Tanguy was also a role model for Van Gogh in the way he approached life. Today 133 years ago, on 21 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "We feel that the art in which we’re working has a long future yet to come, and so we have to be established like those who are tranquil, and not live like the decadents. Here I’ll have more and more the existence of a Japanese painter, living close to nature like a petit bourgeois. So you can easily tell that it’s less gloomy than the decadents. If I manage to live to quite an old age I’ll be something like Père Tanguy.” Van Gogh painted Pere Tanguy three times. This is one of the three...

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Did Van Gogh copy other artists?

      20-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh copied work from Utagawa Hiroshige, Jean-François Millet, Rembrandt, Emile Bernard, Virginie Demont Breton, Honoré Daumier, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Doré, Keisai Eisen and Jacob Jordaens. Today 132 years ago, on 20 September 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "Although copying may be the old system, that absolutely doesn’t bother me at all… What I’m seeking in it, and why it seems good to me to copy them, I’m going to try to tell you. We painters are always asked to compose ourselves and to be nothing but composers. Very well – but in music it isn’t so – and if such a person plays some Beethoven he’ll add his personal interpretation to it – in music, and then above all for singing...

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How many paintings did Van Gogh paint in the asylum?

      19-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was recovering from severe mental illness in the asylum in Saint-Rémy, but he was very productive there. He painted nearly 150 paintings in a year, including Starry Night, Irises and Blossoming Almond Tree. Today 132 years ago, on 19 September 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his mother from the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "These last few weeks I’ve been perfectly well as far as my health goes, and I work almost without stopping from morning till night, day after day, and I lock myself up in the studio to have no distractions. So it continues to be a great comfort to me that the work is progressing rather than going backwards, and I do it with perfect calm, and my thoughts in this respect are entirely clear and self-assured. And so compared with others here, who can’t do...

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Who helped Vincent van Gogh?

      18-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s younger brother Theo not only advised Vincent to become an artists, he also supported him financially and mentally. Theo was his best friend and helped him develop his style that made him the famous artist he is now. Today 133 years ago, on 18 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo from Arles: "At present I don’t yet find my paintings good enough for the benefits I’ve had from you. But once they’re good enough, I assure you that you will have created them just as much as I, and the fact is that we make them together.” and "At the moment I have another no. 30 square canvas on the go, a garden again, or rather a walk under plane trees, with green turf and black clumps of pines.” Path in the Park Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 72,3 x 93 cm...

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Was Van Gogh ahead of his time?

      17-09-2021     Comments (0)

At the end of his career Vincent van Gogh was recognized by artists and art critics contrary to the years before. It would take a very long time though until his paintings became valuable. Today 139 years ago, between 12 and 17 September 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Anthon van Rappard from The Hague: "I’ve often worked on the beach recently, either drawing or painting. And the sea attracts me more and more. I don’t know what your experience of getting on with artists here has been like — I’ve found more than once that people began to rail viciously against what they called ‘the illustrative’ in a manner that to me very clearly proved they had no understanding of the matter at all, were completely unaware of what’s going on in that sphere. And were also not to be persuaded,...

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How long did it take Van Gogh’s oil paintings to dry?

      16-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s oil paintings needed weeks to be dry enough to send them to his brother Theo. They shipped by train in piles and the paint would still be crushed (impacted impasto). And thick oil paint can actually still not be completely dry after 18 months. Today 133 years ago, on 16 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: “..there’ll be paintings that I really don’t want to send you before they’re as dry as a bone. In this last category is a no. 30 square canvas of a corner of a garden with a weeping tree, grass, round-trimmed cedar bushes, an oleander bush. Therefore the same corner of a garden of which you already have a study in the last consignment. But as it’s larger, there’s a lemon-coloured sky above it all, and then the colours have the richness and...

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Was Van Gogh fascinated by cottages?

      15-09-2021     Comments (0)

Absolutely. In May 1885 Vincent van Gogh painted The Cottage. And in France he kept painting cottages, but in a different style with brighter colors, like Thatched Cottages at Cordeville and Thatched Cottages in the Sunshine . Today 138 years ago, on or about 15 September 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Hoogeveen in The Netherlands: "Well, it’s very beautiful inside these huts, dark as a cave. Drawings by certain English artists who have worked on the moors in Ireland most realistically convey what I observe. A. Neuhuys does the same with somewhat more poetry than strikes one at first, but he makes nothing that isn’t also fundamentally true.” The Cottage Nuenen, 1885 Oil on canvas 65,7 x 79,3 cm Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam You may also like to read: What did Van Gogh write...

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At what time of the day did Van Gogh actually paint Cafe Terrace at Night

      14-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh loved painting in nature, away from people. But in Arles, he actually painted the Cafe Terrace at Night on the spot at night, which he enjoyed very much as we can read in his letter. Today 133 years ago, on 14 September 1888 Vincent wrote to his sister Willemien: "Now there’s a painting of night without black. With nothing but beautiful blue, violet and green, and in these surroundings the lighted square is coloured pale sulphur, lemon green. I enormously enjoy painting on the spot at night. In the past they used to draw, and paint the picture from the drawing in the daytime. But I find that it suits me to paint the thing straightaway. It’s quite true that I may take a blue for a green in the dark, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since you can’t make out the nature of the tone...

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