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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Has Van Gogh ever painted a pear tree?

      13-04-2022     Comments (0)

Yes, in Arles Vincent van Gogh painted a beautiful pear tree in blossom. This portrait sized painting was surrounded by two landscape sized paintings of Orchards with apricot trees in blossom. Today 134 years ago, on 13 April 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Arles: "I now also have a small pear tree, vertical, also flanked by two other horizontal canvases. That will make 6 canvases of orchards in blossom.” Small pear tree in blossom Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 73 x 46 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read: To whom did Van Gogh give his Pink Peach Tree? Van Gogh's 'Small pear tree in blossom' Your daily dose of Van Gogh. << previous | next >>

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What did flowering trees mean to Van Gogh?

      11-04-2022     Comments (0)

To Vincent van Gogh flowering trees represented awakening and hope. In Arles Vincent painted no less than 14 paintings of orchards in blossom. He arrived in Arles on 20 February 1888 when it snowed and not much later he witnessed rebirth of nature in spring. Van Gogh himself was very optimistic and full of energy and hope at that time to develop his painting style, inspired by his new surroundings. Today 134 years ago, on 11 April 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "Today has been a good day too. This morning I worked on an orchard of plum trees in blossom — suddenly a tremendous wind began to blow, an effect I’d only ever seen here — and came back again at intervals. In the intervals, sunshine that made all the little white flowers sparkle. It was so beautiful!” The white...

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Did Van Gogh paint on rainy days?

      10-04-2022     Comments (0)

Rainy days didn’t stop Vincent van Gogh from painting. Although he came to the South of France to find warm light and bright colors, typical greys and lilacs on bad days inspired him as well. According to Météo-France it rained in Arles in 1889 from 5 to 9 April. Today 133 years ago, on 10 April 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Paul Signac from Arles: "The other landscape is almost all green with a little lilac and grey – on a rainy day. Very pleased to hear you say that you’ve settled down, and will very much wish to have more news of you. How is work going, what is the character of those parts?” Orchards in Blossom, View of Arles Arles, 1889 Oil on canvas 53,5 x 65,5 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read: How dependent on the weather was Vincent van...

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How many versions did Van Gogh make of the Langlois Bridge?

      09-04-2022     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh made 4 oil paintings, 1 watercolor and 4 drawings of the Langlois Bridge near Arles. The double-beam drawbridge was made by a Dutch engineer and made Van Gogh think of his homeland. The official name was Pont de Réginelle, but everybody called the bridge after the bridgekeeper: Pont de Langlois. Today 134 years ago, on 9 April 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "My dear Theo, Thanks for your letter and for the 100-franc note it contained. I’ve sent you croquis of the paintings intended for Holland. Goes without saying that the painted studies are more brilliant in colour. Am hard at work again, still orchards in blossom.” The Langlois bridge with washerwomen Arles, 1888 Watercolour 30 x 30 cm...

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Why did Van Gogh order his canvas in Paris?

      05-04-2022     Comments (0)

When Vincent van Gogh lived in the South of France he had his canvas sent in by train from Paris. He just couldn’t get the right quality in Arles or Saint-Rémy much to his frustration. Today 134 years ago, on 5 April 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "And — as soon as possible — the final price, to me, of absorbent canvas, 10 metres, please. The colourman here made absorbent canvas for me, but he’s so lazy about doing it that I’ve decided to have everything sent from Paris or Marseille, and give up — having lost all patience — the idea of getting him to do it. (While waiting for a no. 30 absorbent canvas I painted two on non-absorbent canvas.)” Van Gogh painted Paul Gauguin (Man in a Red Beret) on burlap instead of canvas: Paul Gauguin (Man in a...

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Was Van Gogh sad?

      04-04-2022     Comments (0)

In quite a few letters Vincent van Gogh mentioned his sadness. His famous quote “The sadness will last forever.” was written in a letter from Theo van Gogh to their sister Elizabeth though. They may have been Vincent’s last words before he died. Today 133 years ago, on 4 April 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I’m well these days, apart from a certain vague background sadness that’s hard to define — but anyway — I’ve gained physical powers rather than lose them, and I’m working. Just now I have on the easel an orchard of peach trees beside a road with the Alpilles in the background.” La Crau with peach trees in blossom Arles, 1889 Oil on canvas 65,5 x 81,5 cm London, The Courtauld Gallery You may also like to read: Did Van...

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