Which plant is in Van Gogh’s portrait of Dr Gachet?

      03-06-2022     Comments (0)

The yellow flower in Vincent van Gogh’s portrait of Dr Gachet is Foxglove. Van Gogh may have been treated for epilepsy with an extract of foxglove, called digitalis. These days we know digitalis doesn’t treat epilepsy, but it does have positive effects on certain heart conditions. Today 132 years ago, on 3 June 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Auvers-sur-Oise: "I’m working on his portrait. The head with a white cap, very fair, very light, the hands also in light carnation, a blue frock coat and a cobalt blue background, leaning on a red table on which are a yellow book and a foxglove plant with purple flowers.” Doctor Gachet Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890 Oil on canvas 66 x 57 cm Private collection You may also like to read: How many times has the Portrait of Dr. Gachet been...

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What is the meaning of Van Gogh’s colors?

      31-05-2022     Comments (0)

The best way to understand Vincent van Gogh is probably by reading his letters. After all that’s where he wrote extensively how he felt. Unless he didn’t always write how he actually felt. Van Gogh seems very honest when he wrote to his sister Willemien: ‘We need good cheer and happiness, hope and love. The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant colour, well arranged, resplendent’. Was Van Gogh not sincere half a year later when he wrote to his brother from the asylum showing a paining with bright colors? Or had the meaning of Van Gogh’s colors changed? Today 133 years ago, between 31 May and 6 June 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "When you receive the canvases I’ve done in the...

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Did Van Gogh make many paintings before he died?

      24-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh always worked hard, even when tortured by mental problems. In 10 years time he made about 900 paintings and 1100 drawings. Van Gogh was also productive in Auvers-sûr-Oise, where he spent the last months of his life. Today 132 years ago, on 24 May 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo and Jo from Auvers-sur-Oise: "I’ve been very well the past few days, I’m working hard and have four painted studies and two drawings.” One of these paintings is: Thatched Cottages and Houses Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890 Oil on canvas 60 × 73 cm State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg You may also like to read: Was Van Gogh happy before he died? Van Gogh's 'Thatched Cottages and Houses' Your daily dose of Van Gogh. << previous | next >>

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What kind of frames did Van Gogh like?

      23-05-2022     Comments (0)

These days many of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in museums are beautifully framed with antique ornate golden frames. They match Van Gogh’s era, give body to the painting, carefully chosen to make the colors and detail of the painting stand out. Van Gogh himself didn’t have the money for those frames. Besides he also liked simple frames for his paintings, consisting of just some plain strips of wood. Today 133 years ago, on 23 May 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "You see that this framing of simple laths does quite well, and a frame like that costs only very little. It would be perhaps good to frame the green and red vineyards, the sower and the furrows and the interior of the bedroom with them too.” The furrows refers to: Ploughed field with a...

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Why are Van Gogh’s irises not purple?

      22-05-2022     Comments (0)

The red paint Vincent van Gogh used was often not stable. When the red color disappeared out of purple irises over time blue came up. The same happened with the purple walls of Van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles. Also the yellow colors changed towards a darker brownish yellow. Today 134 years ago, on 22 May 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "They cut the grass while I was painting, so it’s only a study and not a finished painting, which I intended to make of it. But what a subject — eh — that sea of yellow flowers with a line of purple irises, and in the background the neat little town of pretty women.” View of Arles with irises in the foreground Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 54 x 65 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read: Why did the red...

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Was Van Gogh happy before he died?

      20-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s life didn’t end well with the revolver shot in his stomach. Obviously his life was a struggle. But many times he wrote in his letters that he painted with joy and that he was happy to be in nature. Would he lie about this to make his family feel better? That would go against his honesty about his fight against mental problems. Van Gogh was simply happy quite often and appreciated his life chasing his dreams to be a recognized artist. Also during the last months of his life in Auver-sûr-Oise. Today 132 years ago, on or about 20 May 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his sister Willemien from Auvers-sur-Oise: "In the last few days at St-Rémy I worked in a frenzy. Big bouquets of flowers, violet irises, big bouquets of roses. Landscapes.” Couple walking among olive trees...

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How did Van Gogh play with colors?

      19-05-2022     Comments (0)

To express his emotions Vincent van Gogh looked for contrast by using complementary colors; they intensify each other. Another way to play with colors was to paint different shades of color next to each other. Today 134 years ago, on or about 19 May 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "A blue enamelled tin coffee-pot, a royal blue and gold cup (on the left), a pale blue and white chequered milk jug, a cup — on the right — white, with blue and orange designs, on a yellow grey earthenware plate, a blue barbotine or majolica jug with red, green, brown designs, and lastly 2 oranges and 3 lemons; the table is covered with a blue cloth, the background is yellow green, making 6 different blues and 4 or 5 yellows and oranges.” Still life with coffee pot Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm...

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Why did Van Gogh smoke pipe?

      17-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was addicted to smoking tobacco, but his pipe was more to him than that. He described it as 'an old, trusty friend’, a source of consolation. It would be good to smoke pipe 'when you’re out of spirits’ or ‘in order to do good work.’ Van Gogh portrayed himself with his pipe several times. His pipe is prominent in his painting ‘Vincent’s Chair’ that can somehow be viewed as a self-portrait as well. The pipe was part of Vincent van Gogh and even on his bed back at the Inn after he had shot himself he asked Dr Gachet for his pipe. Today 140 years ago, on or about 17 May 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "I’m going to lie in the sand in front of the roots of an old tree and draw them. Wearing a linen smock and smoking my...

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Why did Van Gogh’s friend postman Roulin move out of Arles?

      13-05-2022     Comments (0)

Joseph Roulin was in charge of loading and unloading the postbags at the railway station in Arles but he was transferred to Marseille. Vincent and Joseph would be good friend forever and Joseph sent a letter to Vincent in Arles. He did not know Vincent had moved to Saint-Rémy though and his letter was forwarded. Today 133 years ago, on 13 May 1889, Joseph Roulin ends his letter to Vincent van Gogh from Marseille with: "My dear Mr Vincent, accept the regards of he who declares himself to be your entirely devoted friend. Roulin, Railway Postman” Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin Arles, 1889 Oil on canvas 66,2 x 55 cm Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia You may also like to read: Why was Van Gogh so happy with his friend Postman Joseph Roulin? Van Gogh's ' Portrait of...

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How were Van Gogh’s colors in the Irises complementary?

      11-05-2022     Comments (0)

Ok there are red, yellow and blue as primary colors. The opposites are complementary: red + green, yellow + purple and blue + orange. But why would Van Gogh think his blue irises against a yellow background are complementary? The irises would have to be purple to be 'an effect of terribly disparate complementaries’. And they were! The red paint Van Gogh used wasn’t very stable so the purple irises turned blue over time. Today 132 years ago, on 11 May 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "On the contrary, the other violet bouquet (ranging up to pure carmine and Prussian blue) standing out against a striking lemon yellow background with other yellow tones in the vase and the base on which it rests is an effect of terribly disparate complementaries that reinforce each...

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Was Van Gogh absent-minded?

      09-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was not only very creative but also very sensitive and intense. Painting and the thoughts needed to create his paintings absorbed him so much that he would often be preoccupied. Vincent was aware of this but focussed on painting anyway. Also when he had just arrived at the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Today 133 years ago, on 9 May 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo and Jo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "I have two others on the go — violet irises and a lilac bush. Two subjects taken from the garden. The idea of my duty to work comes back to me a lot, and I believe that all my faculties for work will come back to me quite quickly. It’s just that work often absorbs me so much that I think I’ll always be absent-minded and awkward in getting by for the rest of life...

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Did Theo van Gogh hang Vincent’s paintings on his wall?

      08-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh sent many paintings from the South of France to his brother in Paris. Sometimes Theo framed them and hung them on his walls. Like a music composition he carefully chose their place on the wall and redecorated regularly. Today 133 years ago, on 8 May 1889, Jo van Gogh-Bonger wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Paris: "There’s also one of your paintings hanging above the piano in our drawing room (we got one from Aunt Cornelie) — a large one which I like very much — it’s a landscape near Arles. The dining room is full too, but Theo’s not happy with the arrangement yet, and every Sunday morning is spent rehanging and arranging everything.” The Harvest (at La Crau) Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 73,4 x 91,8 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read:...

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Did Van Gogh paint at home?

      07-05-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh either painted and finished a painting outside, or he started the painting outside and finished it at home, or he did the whole painting at home. His brushstrokes were usually longer and more organic when the painting was done outside. Today 134 years ago, on 7 May 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "There’s a small landscape with a tumbledown house in white, red, green and a cypress beside it — you have the drawing of it and I painted it entirely at home. That should prove to you that if it suited you, I could make little paintings like Japanese prints out of all these drawings.” Landscape with a path and pollard willows Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 31 x 38.5 cm Private collection You may also like to read: Did the mistral wind bother Van Gogh? Van...

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Did Van Gogh want to leave the asylum?

      04-05-2022     Comments (0)

Yes after a year Vincent van Gogh wanted his freedom back and had been waiting patiently for his release. "I’ve tried to be patient up to this point, I haven’t done any harm to anyone, is it fair to have me accompanied like a dangerous animal? No thank you, I protest. If a crisis occurs, they know what to do in every station, and then I’d let them do it." Today 132 years ago, on 4 May 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "As for me, my patience is at an end, at an end, my dear brother, I can’t go on, I must move, even if as a stopgap. However, there really is a chance that the change will do me good – work is going well, I’ve done 2 canvases of the fresh grass in the park, one of which is extremely simple. The trunk of a pine tree violet...

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Did Vincent van Gogh advise how to frame his paintings?

      03-05-2022     Comments (0)

Van Gogh realized the importance of a frame to bring out the best of his paintings. For his ‘Cypresses with two figures’ he wrote in detail to art critic Albert Aurier which kind of frame would probably work: "I have noticed that a very simple flat frame, bright orange lead, creates the desired effect with the blues of the background and the dark greens of the trees. Without this there would perhaps not be enough red in the canvas, and the upper part would appear a little cold." Today 132 years ago, on 3 May 1890, Theo van Gogh wrote to Vincent from Paris: "The Aurier canvas is one of the finest you’ve yet done, it has the richness of a peacock’s tail. I’ll take it to him directly, I’d had the frame made that you described, for I certainly owe him that, and he isn’t...

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Was Van Gogh grateful to his brother?

      29-04-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was very grateful to his brother. It wasn’t just Theo’s financial support that Vincent appreciated. In many letters Vincent expressed he would be unhappy without the mental support and friendship of his brother. Also on Theo’s birthday in 1890 when his younger brother turned 33. Today 132 years ago, on 29 April 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "My dear Theo, I haven’t been able to write to you until now, but as I’m feeling a little better these days I didn’t want to delay wishing a happy year to you, your wife and your child, since it’s your birthday. At the same time, please accept the various paintings I’m sending you with my thanks for all the kindnesses you’ve shown me, for without you I would be most...

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Did Van Gogh paint during his stay in hospital in Arles?

      28-04-2022     Comments (0)

When Vincent van Gogh stayed in hospital in Arles after his ear accident he simply wasn’t able to paint. He was discharged from hospital after two weeks but Van Gogh had to go back a few times as he suffered from attacks. While Van Gogh was in hospital in Arles again and also later in the Saint-Paul hospital in Saint-Rémy (the asylum) he was very productive. Vincent believed painting was good for his health. Today 133 years ago, between 28 April and 2 May 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his sister Willemien from Arles: "And I still feel incapable of taking a studio again. I’m working though, and have just done two paintings of the hospital. One is a ward, a very long ward with the rows of beds with white curtains where a few figures of patients are moving.” Ward in the hospital Arles, 1889...

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Was Van Gogh convinced about his drawing skills?

      23-04-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was very self-critical in general. Being a perfectionist wasn’t easy, but it pushed him to develop his paining style drastically within his 10 year painting career that started in 1880. Van Gogh seemed to be very confident in his drawing skills when he lived in The Hague in 1882 though. Today 140 years ago, on or about 23 April 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "It’s precisely because I have a draughtsman’s fist that I can’t keep myself from drawing and, I ask you, have I ever doubted or hesitated or wavered since the day I began to draw? I think you know very well that I’ve hacked my way through and am obviously ever more keen to do battle.” Torn-up Noordstraat with diggers The Hague, 1882 Pencil, pen, heightened with white and colors 43 x 63 cm...

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Why did Van Gogh like to paint peasant life?

      21-04-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh not only painted peasants as an homage to hard working laborers. He also enjoyed the subject as it gave him "peace, in the sense of peace of mind, even when one has a great struggle in material things.” Vincent seemed to love the creative part of the painting process as much as the actual application of paint onto the canvas of peasant paintngs. Did it make him feel one with nature and connect with the people around him? Today 137 years ago, on 21 April 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "I hope that the painting of those potato eaters will progress a bit. Besides that, am also working on a red sunset. To paint peasant life one has to be master of such an enormous number of things.” This could be: Landscape with sunset Nuenen, 1885 Oil on canvas on cardboard 35 x...

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Which paint colors did Van Gogh use?

      15-04-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh liked to paint with colors like yellow ocher, chrome yellow, cadmium yellow, chrome orange, vermilion, Prussian blue, ultramarine, lead white, zinc white, emerald green, red lake, red ocher, raw sienna. Check out some extra colors he ordered during spring. They were urgent as the appearance of flowering trees wouldn't last long. 133 years ago, between about 14 and 17 April 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "In the meantime I’ve been obliged to ask Tasset for 10 metres of canvas and a few tubes. Also I still need 12 zinc white large tubes 1 Emerald large tubes 2 Cobalt large tubes 2 Ultramarine large tubes 1 Vermilion large tubes 4 Veronese Green large tubes 3 Chrome I large tubes 1 Chrom II large tubes 2 Geranium lake medium tubes I have 6 spring studies, including...

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