Who taught Van Gogh to paint?

      02-12-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh had already made drawings and watercolors when it was his cousin-in-law Anton Mauve in The Hague in 1881 who taught Van Gogh to paint with oils. His first painting of his 10 year career was 'Still Life with Cabbage and Clogs’. When Mauve died in 1888, Vincent painted Pink Peach Trees , signed with Souvenir de Mauve. Today 140 years ago, between 1 and 3 December 1881, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "I spoke to Mauve and said, would you approve if I were to come and trouble you for a good month or so – then when that time is up I’ll be past the first petty vexations of painting and will go back to Het Heike. Well, Mauve immediately installed me in front of a still life consisting of a couple of old clogs and other objects, and so I could set to work.”...

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Did Van Gogh want to become a magazine illustrator?

      01-12-2021     Comments (0)

Yes, Vincent van Gogh seriously had the ambition to be a magazine illustrator for some time. Lithography was invented in 1796 Germany, mainly to easily reproduce maps and sheet music. From the 1820s lithography was adopted by British artists who inspired Van Gogh. He collected magazines for their beautiful illustrations. Becoming an illustrator would also generate income so Vincent would be less dependent on his brother’s financial support. Today 139 years ago, on 1 December 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "Of course there are costs involved in the drawing, the stone, the printing, the paper. These are relatively low. Prints like the last one I sent you, say, like a new one that I finished yesterday evening and is now ready, would I believe be suitable for a popular edition, for instance,...

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Why was Van Gogh so happy with the Roulin family?

      30-11-2021     Comments (0)

Postman Joseph Roulin was one of Vincent van Gogh’s best friends in his life. It was not easy for Vincent to find models to paint. Thanks to his friendship with Joseph Roulin he could not only paint him, but also his wife Augustine, their sons Armand and Camille and their baby girl Marcelle. Van Gogh painted all of them at least three times. Today 133 years ago, on or about 30 Nov 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I’ve done the portraits of an entire family, the family of the postman whose head I did before – the man, his wife, the baby, the young boy and the 16-year-old son, all characters and very French, although they have a Russian look.” Portrait of Armand Roulin Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 65 x 54,1 cm Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany You may also like to read:...

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How did Van Gogh try to sell his paintings?

      28-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘The Red Vineyard' was sold at the exhibition Les XX in Brussels in 1890. This may be the only one he ever sold. He did try to sell his art though. For example in Antwerp where he went to art dealers to promote a few of his paintings that he had taken with him from Nuenen. Today 136 years ago, on 28 November 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Antwerp: "See that you send your letter off on the first, because I’ve got enough bread in until then, but after that I’d be in a real stew. My little room isn’t bad at all, and it definitely doesn’t look dreary. Now that I have the 3 studies I brought with me here, I’ll set about going to the picture dealers, who mostly seem to live in private houses, though, no shop windows on the street.” The...

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How many versions did Van Gogh make of At Eternity’s Gate?

      27-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent Van Gogh made four versions of At Eternity’s Gate: a study, a drawing and a lithograph in 1882. And then many years later in 1890 Van Gogh painted this 'Sorrowing old man’ or ‘Worn Out' again. Van Gogh died a few months later. The artworks portray the elderly Adrianus Zuyderland (1810-1897) who lived in the Old Men’s and Women’s Home in The Hague, which was supported by the poor board of the Dutch Reformed Congregation. Today 139 years ago, on 27 November 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: “..this morning I had to go to the printer’s with my old man. Now I’ve followed everything: the transfer to the stone, the preparation of the stone, the actual printing. And I have a better understanding of what I can change by retouching. Herewith the first...

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Did Van Gogh paint the asylum in Saint-Rémy?

      26-11-2021     Comments (0)

When Vincent van Gogh was a patient at the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, most of the time he wasn’t allowed to leave the premises to paint. So Van Gogh painted views of the surrounding wheat fields, a series of pine trees in the hospital garden, the undergrowth, flowers like irises, roses, poppies, several still lifes and also butterflies and a moth. In winter he made copies of Rembrandt and Millet. His 12 month stay in the asylum turned out to be very productive as he made no less than 150 new paintings. Today 132 years ago, on or about 26 November 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "Here’s description of a canvas that I have in front of me at the moment. A view of the garden of the asylum where I am, on the right a grey terrace, a section of house, some...

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How many olive tree paintings did Van Gogh make?

      25-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh made 15 paintings of olive trees in total. At first he was struggling to capture the characteristics of the olive tree; he found them intimate and nearly too beautiful too paint. But he didn’t stop trying. Van Gogh even made 3 versions of 'Women Picking Olives’. Today 132 years ago, on or about 25 November 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "So at present am working in the olive trees, seeking the different effects of a grey sky against yellow earth, with dark green note of the foliage; another time the earth and foliage all purplish against yellow sky, then red ochre earth and pink and green sky. See, that interests me more than the so-called abstractions.” Women Picking Olives Saint-Rémy, 1889 Oil on canvas 72,7 x 91,4 cm The Metropolitan...

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How many Van Gogh works are lost?

      23-11-2021     Comments (0)

It is hard to answer how many art works by Vincent van Gogh are lost. Vincent made more than 2000 works and thanks to his letters we have an idea of how many of them are lost. 85 lost works is an estimate, of which many are drawings. Another 6 works have been destroyed and are lost forever. Vase with Five Sunflowers being the most famous one that was destroyed by fire in Japan in the Second World War. 137 years ago, on or about 23 November 1884, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: “It’s getting better for me — although my expenses aren’t getting any smaller — but we’re definitely making progress just by working very hard now…. ...I’m also working on a watercolour of the water mill. Regards, with a handshake.” Watermill at Gennep Nuenen, 1884 Watercolor...

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How important was his brother’s opinion to Vincent van Gogh?

      22-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent en Theo's 'Uncle Cent' became partner at art dealer Goupil and Cie in 1861. Vincent started to work for Goupil in 1869 and Theo in 1873. Theo later became director of their branch in Paris. When Vincent decided to become an artist his brother's expertise was more than welcome and his opinion was very important to him. Apart from Theo’s financial and mental support, Vincent’s fame after he died can be viewed as a team effort. Today 139 years ago, on 22 November 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "My dear Theo, Together with this letter you’re receiving the first proofs of one lithograph, Digger, and one lithograph, Coffee drinker. I’d very much like to know as soon as possible what impression they make on you. I still plan to retouch them on the stone, and...

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Did Theo van Gogh sell Gauguin’s paintings?

      21-11-2021     Comments (0)

Yes, while Gauguin was living with Vincent van Gogh in the Yellow House in Arles, Theo sold Gauguin’s paintings working for an art dealer in Paris. Vincent was struggling to make a sale himself but he was happy for Gauguin and it motivated him to improve his colors with help from Gauguin. Today 133 years ago, on or about 21 November 1888, Vincent van Gogh to Theo from Arles: Am very happy that Gauguin’s success as regards selling continues.1 If in a year’s time he could have made enough to carry out his plan of going and setting himself up in Martinique, I’d think that his fortune would be made. In the same letter: "Here’s a croquis of the latest canvas I’m working on, another sower. Immense lemon yellow disc for the sun. Green-yellow sky with pink clouds. The field is violet, the...

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Why did Van Gogh find his chair funny?

      20-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh may have found the painting of his chair ‘rather funny’ in comparison with his painting of Gauguin’s chair. Where his own chair is a simple peasant chair with a pipe, Gauguin’s chair is more comfortable and with books. Vincent painted them together and the chairs show the difference between character of the two artists. Van Gogh was actually adventurous and an avid reader. And Gauguin could be short of money at times like Van Gogh. Yet in the eyes of Van Gogh he would never depict himself as the sophisticated world traveler like Gauguin was. Today 133 years ago, on or about 20 November 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Arles: "In the meantime I can tell you anyway that the last two studies are rather funny. No. 30 canvases, a wooden and straw chair all...

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What did Van Gogh mean to express with the sunflowers?

      19-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was very happy that Gauguin would come to live with him in The yellow House in Arles. The Sunflowers that he had painted to decorate Gauguin’s room expressed his happiness and Van Gogh was very proud of them. A deeper meaning of the Sunflowers is the cycle of life and death, shown by the various stages of life of the sunflowers. Today 131 years ago, on or about 19 November 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "As for the Vingtistes, here’s what I’d like to exhibit: 1 and 2 - the two pendants of sunflowers 3 - The ivy, upright 4 - Orchard in blossom (the one Tanguy’s exhibiting at the moment, with poplars crossing the canvas) 5 - The red vineyard 6 - Wheatfield, rising sun, which I’m working on at the moment." One of...

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Why did Van Gogh paint poor people?

      18-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh painted poor people to show his affinity and solidarity with these poor people. Although Vincent’s family was not poor, he was often short of money himself. The peasants in Van Gogh’s famous painting ‘The Potato Eaters' as well as his ‘Almsman’ were poor people. Almsmen received money from the diaconate of the Dutch Reformed congregation. Today 140 years ago, on 18 November 1881, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Etten: "Now, old chap, if you send me some ‘travelling money’ you’ll soon receive 3 drawings, ‘Mealtime’, ‘the fire-lighter’ and ‘an almsman’.” By the ‘almsman’ Van Gogh must mean 'Man sitting by the fireplace'. Almsmen received...

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Did Van Rappard’s criticism motivate Van Gogh?

      17-11-2021     Comments (0)

After Van Rappard’s criticism of Van Gogh’s lithograph ‘ The Potato Eaters ’ in 1885 Vincent had enough of it. He ended their friendship that started in 1880. Both Van Rappard and Van Gogh liked to paint laborers with dignity, but where Van Rappard technically followed the conventional rules of the academy, Van Gogh’s mind was more free and explored emotional expression. They showed interest in each other’s work, Van Rappard often being a mentor for Van Gogh. Vincent learned from Van Rappard's criticism; it motivated him to improve his technique, but he finally chose to follow his artistic heart. Today 139 years ago, on 17 or 18 November 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Anthon van Rappard from The Hague: "I have little time for writing, but nevertheless want to say first that I...

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Has Van Gogh ever painted poplars?

      16-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh has made paintings of poplars in several styles. He painted Avenue of Poplars in Autumn in 1884 and Poplars near Nuenen in 1885 still in his typical dark and more realistic way. Two Poplars in the Alpilles near Saint-Rémy in 1889 shows his development as an artist. Van Gogh’s use of color and brushstrokes had changed completely. Orchard in blossom with a view of Arles , painted in 1889, also shows poplars. This was one of the 6 paintings that he sent to the exposition Les XX in Brussels in 1890. Today 132 years ago, on 16 November 1889, Theo van Gogh wrote to Vincent from Paris: "There’s one at Tanguy’s at the moment, in the shop window, a view over the countryside in springtime with grey poplars crossing the canvas in such a way that you can’t see either...

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Was Van Gogh successful in his lifetime?

      15-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s paintings were often considered worthless when he was alive. But at the end of his career he was exposed at Exposition de la Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris and Les XX in Brussels. This shows that Van Gogh was recognized by the top of the modern art world of that moment. Vincent sent 6 paintings to the exhibition of Les XX in Brussels in January 1890. And.. he sold one: The Red Vineyard! Today 131 years ago, on 15 November 1889, Octave Maus wrote an invitation to Vincent van Gogh from Brussels: “Sir. The Association of Les Vingt, founded in 1883 with the goal of organizing an international exhibition in Brussels each year, comprising the works of its members and of twenty Belgian and foreign artists chosen from among those most sympathetic to the artistic...

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Why is Van Gogh a post-impressionist?

      14-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s paintings changed from dark to colorful in Paris in 1886. At exhibitions Van Gogh admired paintings by impressionists and they had a big influence on his style. Like the impressionists Van Gogh used bright colors, applied thick paint ( impasto ) and painted real-life subjects. Yet Van Gogh is regarded a post-impressionist as he: changed natural forms used unnatural colors expressed his emotions instead of creating an impression of a landscape. Today 181 years ago, on 14 November 1840, Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 - 1926) was born. In September or October 1886 Vincent van Gogh wrote to Horace Mann Livens from Paris: "In Antwerp I did not even know what the Impressionists were, now I have seen them and...

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Was Van Gogh self-critical?

      13-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh could be very content with his own paintings, for example with The Potato Eaters and The Bedroom. On his path to creating masterpieces Van Gogh was often artistically very self-critical though. His paintings would not be suitable for selling and looking back in 1883 he found his early years as a painter ‘rubbish’. Even at the end of his career in 1889, after he had been successful on highly respected expositions, he regarded his now world famous Starry Night a failure. Was it this self-criticism that made him a perfectionist? Did it give him the drive to make more than 900 paintings, 1100 drawings and write over 2000 letters? Vincent was always trying to improve and hopeful to one day succeed as an artist. If only he knew.. Today 139 years ago, on 12 or 13 November...

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What made Van Gogh such a good writer?

      12-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s letters are enjoyed by many people and are often recognized as a form of art. Van Gogh’s creative mind gives insight into his intense and sensitive nature. His raw talent to write things down beautifully combined with his endless reading of literature developed his writing style that makes it so attractive to discover his life, his passion and his worries. ‘The Novel Reader' showing a yellow book is Vincent's homage to modern French literature; paperbacks had yellow covers. Today 133 years ago, on or about 12 November 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his sister Willemien from Arles: "I’ve now also painted a woman reading a novel. Abundant very black hair, a green bodice, sleeves the colour of wine lees, the skirt black, the...

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Did Gauguin visit Van Gogh in hospital?

      11-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear in Arles on 23 December 1888 and slept in the Yellow House that he shared with Paul Gauguin. Gauguin did not return home but slept in a hotel. He declared Van Gogh had threatened him like an aggressive madman. Van Gogh was brought to a hospital the day after and asked Gauguin to visit him, but instead Gauguin took the train to Paris and they never saw each other again. They have written each other several letters afterwards. Today 132 years ago, between 10 and 13 November 1889, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Le Pouldu, "My dear Vincent, I received your letter the other day and I’m pleased to see that you’re recovered (if it’s not forever) at least for a long time: a time during which you’re going to be able to...

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