What do Van Gogh’s sowers symbolize?

      29-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh's paintings and drawings of sowers symbolize the eternal cycle of nature and of agricultural life. As a sower of God’s word they also have a religious meaning. Today 133 years ago, on or about 29 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I don’t yet know what Gauguin thinks about my decoration in general; I only know that there are some studies that he really does like, namely, the Sower, the Sunflowers, the Bedroom.” and: "I dare believe that you’ll like the new Sower. I’m writing in haste, we have heaps of work. He and I plan to go to the brothels a lot, but only to study them." The Sower Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 72 x 91 cm...

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How did Honoré Daumier inspire Van Gogh?

      28-10-2021     Comments (0)

Daumier’s art with ‘modern' gas light instead of oil lamps created interesting light effects. Vincent van Gogh liked how their yellow and orange tones made the blue colors stronger and created expressive portraits. Today 133 years ago, on 27 or 28 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "In the evening especially, with the gaslight, I like the look of the studio very much. If you ever find any more Daumiers, don’t forget to get your hands on them. And I believe that in the evening we’ll bring neighbours and friends here, and that in the evening we’ll work as in the daytime, chatting as we do so. Portraits of people lit by gaslight — that always seems to me a thing to do. I shake your hand firmly, and write to us soon. Ever yours,...

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At which restaurant in Arles did Van Gogh eat?

      27-10-2021     Comments (0)

"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 Café de la Gare, where he was staying. The owner was the widow Marguerite Vénissac-Canin. Although Theo sent him sufficient money to buy expensive painting supplies, Vincent was often still short of money. Today 133 year ago, on 27 October 1888, Theo van Gogh wrote to his brother Vincent from Paris" "Why don’t you try to obtain credit with the owner of a restaurant for occasions when, as just recently, I’m not there, or am unable to send you money immediately?” The Yellow house was on 2 Place Lamartine. And the...

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Why did Van Gogh not like bankers?

      26-10-2021     Comments (0)

From 1883 to 1888 there was an economic recession with poverty and a high unemployment rate. After their civil war the US government was taking money out of circulation to return to the gold standard. This resulted in less money available to facilitate trade. Vincent van Gogh blamed the bankers. Today 139 years ago, on or about 26 October 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his parents from Nieuw-Amsterdam: "Dear Parents, I received your letters and I thank you for them. The death of Cousin Anna Tak touched me too; yes, it could have happened at any time. I sometimes thought that she wasn’t entirely happy, or rather, for my part I don’t doubt it for a moment. I think it must be difficult to be happy with a banker, less than ever nowadays. You will say that it isn’t so — but I...

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What did Van Gogh mean to Picasso?

      25-10-2021     Comments (0)

It was Paul Cezanne who inspired Picasso in his early years to develop his style towards abstract art. Picasso would call him “the father of us all”. But it was Vincent van Gogh whom Picasso considered to be his main inspiration at a later stage of his career. Today 140 years ago, on 25 oktober 1881, Pablo Picasso was born. Picasso's biographer, John Richardson, has written that Van Gogh meant more to Picasso than any other artist in his later years. He even got a copy of the newspaper report of Van Gogh's ear-mutilation episode so he could frame it. Self portrait with bandaged ear Arles, 1889 Oil on canvas 51 × 45 cm Private collection Stavros Niarcos, on loan at Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland...

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When did Van Gogh and Roulin both live in Arles?

      24-10-2021     Comments (0)

On 20 February 1888 Van Gogh moved from Paris to Arles, where Joseph Roulin worked at the railroad station. They become good friends. On 21 January 1889 Roulin moved to Marseille. And Van Gogh would move to Saint-Rémy a few months later. Roulin wrote 4 letters to Vincent after their ways separated, worried about his good friend’s health. Today 132 years ago, on 24 October 1889, Joseph Roulin wrote to his friend Vincent van Gogh from Marseille: "My wife was very happy to discover your kind letter on arrival, to learn from it that you are in good health. In your letter you tell me that you have worked a lot, that you have twelve canvases prepared, I hope that you will finish them in good health and that these unfortunate crises will not recur any more; I am pleased that you are in...

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Was Van Gogh good with money?

      23-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent’s brother Theo was director of art dealer Goupil & Cie in Paris and he was able to send Vincent a lot more money than most people made. With this financial support Vincent could buy painting supplies and have a decent living. But it frustrated Theo that Vincent was often still short of money. In Arles Vincent spent a lot of money to prepare The Yellow House as Studio of the South to welcome Gauguin and other fellow artists. Today 133 years ago, on 23 October 1888, Theo van Gogh wrote to his brother Vincent from Paris: "What a financier you are! What distresses me is that even so, you’re still in poverty, because you can’t stop yourself doing things for others. I’d be very glad to see you more selfish until you’re on an even keel.”...

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What was Theo’s influence on Van Gogh’s style of painting?

      22-10-2021     Comments (0)

It was Theo van Gogh who suggested The Potato Eaters was too dark and Vincent should consider brighter colors. As director of art dealer Goupil & Cie in Paris Theo knew a lot about modern art and he shared his thoughts about Vincent’s development towards the style of his now world famous masterpieces. Today 132 years ago, on 22 October 1889, Theo van Gogh wrote to his brother Vincent from Paris: “I consider that you’re strongest when you’re doing real things, like that (Irises VGS), or like the Tarascon diligence, or the child’s head, or the upright undergrowth with the ivy. The form is so well defined and the whole is full of colour. I clearly sense what preoccupies you in the new canvases like the village in the moonlight or the mountains, but I feel that the...

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Did Van Gogh have a hard time in the asylum?

      21-10-2021     Comments (0)

Although Vincent van Gogh was very productive while in the asylum in Saint-Rémy, he had a few mental collapses. Also being around 18 other mentally troubled patients was very difficult for him at times, but he got used to it. Today 131 years ago, on or about 21 October 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his mother Anna van Gogh-Carbentus from the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: “..at the moment I’m working on a portrait of one of the patients here. It’s strange that when one is with them for some time and is used to them, one no longer thinks about their being mad.” Portrait of a One-Eyed Man Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, 1889 Oil on canvas 56.5 x 36.6 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may...

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When did Van Gogh experiment with complementary colors?

      20-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh made his most famous pantings in the South of France, known for their bright colors. To intensify the effect of color he used complementary colors by combining yellow and purple, blue and orange, red and green. But already in his dark period in Nuenen he experimented with color combinations. Today 136 years ago, on or about 20 October 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "Just to say how that study was painted — quite simply this. Green and red are complementary. Well there’s a particular — red in the apples, very coarse in itself — and greenish things as well. Now there are one or two apples in a different colour too — which make the whole thing right — in a particular pink. That pink — is the broken colour, created by...

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Why did Van Gogh do one painting on burlap?

      19-10-2021     Comments (0)

It was Paul Gauguin who introduced Vincent van Gogh to painting on jute burlap in The Yellow House in Arles. Some artists used burlap as cheap alternative when canvas was not available. Van Gogh didn’t like the coarse texture of it so much and only painted his 'Portrait of Gauguin’ on burlap. Today 133 years ago, on 19 October 1888, Theo van Gogh wrote to his brother Vincent from Paris: "So Gauguin’s coming; that will make a big change in your life. I hope that your efforts will succeed in making your house a place where artists will feel at home.” Not much later Vincent van Gogh painted Paul Gauguin while he was painting 'a big still life of an orange pumpkin and some apples and white linen on a yellow background and foreground'....

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How were Vincent van Gogh and Anton Mauve related?

      18-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was Anton Mauve’s cousin-in-law. Mauve was married to Van Gogh's cousin Ariëtte (Jet) Sophia Jeannette Carbentus. Her father Arie Carbentus was Vincent van Gogh’s mother Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Today 140 years ago, on or about 18 October 1881, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Etten: "My dear Theo, Since Pa and Ma are writing, I’ll enclose a few words, but hope to write to you soon in more detail, namely after Mauve’s visit, who’s going to Princenhage soon and will also come here." 7 years later Van Gogh painted Pink Peach Trees. In the evening of the day on which Van Gogh makes this painting, he finds a letter from his sister, who writes to tell him that Anton Mauve has died. This painter was not only his cousin by...

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Which painting did Van Gogh’s Bedroom remind him of?

      17-10-2021     Comments (0)

Have you ever seen the painting Vincent’s Bedroom in the Van Gogh Museum? Did you want to know Van Gogh’s thoughts about it? We are so fortunate to have his letters. Especially about the Bedroom he wrote a lot to his brother. How else would we know this painting reminded him of a painting he did a year before in Paris: 'Piles of French Novels’? Today 133 years ago, on 17 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "This bedroom is something like that still life of French novels with yellow, pink, green covers, you’ll recall. But I believe that the execution is simpler and more virile. No stippling, no hatching, nothing; the tints flat, but in harmony. I don’t know what I’ll undertake afterwards, because my sight’s still...

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What did Van Gogh’s Bedroom mean to Vincent?

      16-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh mentioned The Bedroom in many letters, happy with the result and he made three versions. Life was good for Van Gogh at that moment. Preparing for Gauguin to share The Yellow House with him, enthusiastic about starting the Studio of the South. In retrospect this was the calm before the storm. Arguments with Gauguin, drinking and mental health issues would change his life for the worse. Where his bedroom in Arles was meant to rest the mind. Today 133 years ago, on 16 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo from Arles: "My eyes are still tired, but anyway I had a new idea in mind, and here’s the croquis of it. No. 30 canvas once again. This time it’s simply my bedroom, but the colour has to do the job here, and through its being simplified by giving a...

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Did Van Gogh exchange his artwork?

      15-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh not only exchanged his artwork for food and painting supplies, but he also exchanged art with other artists like Gauguin and Bernard. Today 133 years ago, on 15 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Arles: "Gauguin has my portrait, and Bernard says that he’d like to have one like it, although he already has one of me, which I exchanged with him at the time for the portrait of his Grandmother.” Emile Bernard most probably had Van Gogh’s "Self-portrait with a straw hat”. Self-portrait with a Straw Hat Paris, 1887 oil on cardboard mounted on panel 34,9 x 26,7 cm Detroit Institute of Arts, USA You may also like to read: Was Van...

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Why did Van Gogh advise to get rid of books?

      14-10-2021     Comments (0)

Getting rid of most of his books gave Vincent van Gogh peace. His resolution to dispose of nearly all his books shows striking similarities to the decision of Maggie Tulliver in George Eliot’s novel 'The mill on the Floss'. Today 146 years ago, on 14 October 1875, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Paris: "I advised you to get rid of your books, and I still advise you to do so, certainly, just do it; it will give you peace. But while you’re doing it, take care not to become narrow-minded and to shy away from reading what is well written; on the contrary, that is a comfort in our lives." Vincent was an avid reader though. His favorite author was probably Charles Dickens, but he also read Michelet, Carlyle, Daudet, Flaubert, Balzac, Maupassant, Zola,...

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Why did Van Gogh like the South of France?

      13-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh loved the bright light and colors in the South of France that inspired him to develop his painting style. Besides he enjoyed being in the beautiful countryside as described by Alphonse Daudet in Tartarin de Tarascon and Tartarin sur les Alpes. Today 133 years ago, on 13 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "Have you re-read the Tartarins yet? Ah, don’t forget to! Do you remember in Tartarin the lament of the old Tarascon diligence — that wonderful page? Well, I’ve just painted that red and green carriage in the yard of the inn. You’ll see.” Van Gogh read Alphonse Daudet’s Tartarin de Tarascon (1872) and Tartarin sur les Alpes (1885). Van Gogh’s comment relates to the chapter titled ‘Les...

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Why did Van Gogh love Japan?

      12-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was highly influenced in his artistic creations by Japanese artists like Hiroshige. But he also loved the way the Japanese lived in harmony with nature. Today 163 years ago, on 12 October 1858, Japanese artist Hiroshige (1797 - 1858) died. Van Gogh was influenced by Millet, Monet, Gauguin and many others, but most of all perhaps by Hiroshige. "Isn’t it almost a new religion that these Japanese teach us, who are so simple and live in nature as if they themselves were flowers? And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention.” - Vincent van Gogh Bridge in the Rain - after...

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How important was nature to Van Gogh?

      11-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh felt very much connected to nature, more than to cities. Nature inspired him to paint. Even in cities he was attracted to nature, like a park. He said: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Today 133 years ago, on 11 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Arles: "The one I’ve just done is another garden.” This view of the park was Entrance to the public garden. Earlier Van Gogh wrote that he had two paintings of this ‘other garden’ (to distinguish it from the ‘poet’s garden’); the second painting was The public garden with a couple strolling (‘The poet’s garden’). The public garden with a couple strolling / Public Garden with Couple...

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Did Van Gogh visit museums?

      10-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was a big fan of Rembrandt and Frans Hals, whose paintings he studied in the Rijksmuseum in 1885. In 1889 he visited the Musée Fabre in Montpellier with Gauguin. And before he was a painter he frequently visited the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam, the precursor to the Rijksmuseum. Today 136 years ago, on 10 October 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "My dear Theo, I’ve been to Amsterdam this week — I hardly had time to see anything but the museum. I was there 3 days; went Tuesday, back Thursday. Result is that I’m very glad I went, whatever the cost, and that I don’t propose going for so long again without seeing paintings.” By ‘the museum’ Van Gogh means the Rijksmuseum, which had opened in July 1885....

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