What is Van Gogh’s color theory?

      04-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s color theory was based on three laws of color. The law of simultaneous contrast where complementary colors intensify each other, like red and green. Tonal contrast achieved by a broken tone next to a whole tone, like red and reddish. The relativity of color, like brown and an even darker color next to it. Today 136 years ago, on 4 November 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "You’ll shortly receive two studies of the autumn leaves, one in yellow (poplars) — and the other in orange (oaks). I’m utterly preoccupied with the laws of colour. If only we’d been taught them in our youth!" Avenue of poplars Nuenen, 1885 Oil on canvas 78 x 98 cm...

Read more

Does Van Gogh’s Red Vineyard near Arles still exist?

      03-11-2021     Comments (0)

The red vineyard does not exist anymore. Now it’s probably a wheat field. Thanks to one of our customers from Arles the exact spot could be located. "Coming from Montmajour towards Arles, the road makes a slight curve on the right. You can still see some trees left along the road as they were in the painting. From this spot you can see the dwelling in the painting along the road and in the horizon the top of the Arles church building in the sunset. That’s the bearings I took to find out the location, on the right side of the road." Today 133 years ago, on or about 3 November 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I’ve done two canvases of a leaf-fall, which Gauguin liked I think, and am now working on a vineyard, all purple and...

Read more

Have Van Gogh and Gauguin ever written a letter together?

      02-11-2021     Comments (0)

Yes, the only letter Vincent van Gogh has ever written together with another artist is the one he wrote with Paul Gauguin in Arles in 1888. Van Gogh started this letter to their mutual friend and fellow artist Emile Bernard. And Gauguin finished it. In 2020 this letter was bought by the Van Gogh Museum at an auction. Today 133 years ago, on 1 or 2 November 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard: "I’ve made two studies of falling leaves in an avenue of poplars, and a third study of the whole of this avenue, entirely yellow.” Paul Gauguin continued the same letter: "Vincent has done two studies of falling leaves in an avenue, which are in my room and which you would like very much. On very coarse, but very good sacking.” Falling leaves (Les Alyscamps) Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas...

Read more

How was Van Gogh's relationship with his father?

      01-11-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh wanted to make his father Theodorus van Gogh proud of him. But Vincent felt he disappointed his father, a pastor, by giving up his ambition to become a preacher. Vincent hoped to become a respected artist instead, but his father died in 1885 and never saw his son exhibited at major art expositions from 1888 onwards. If only his father knew.. Today 141 years ago, on 1 November 1880, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Brussels: "Drew The diggers by Millet after a photo by Braun that I found at Schmidt’s and which he lent me with that of The evening angelus. I sent both those drawings to Pa so that he could see that I’m doing something.” The Angelus (after Millet) Brussels, 1880 Pencil, white and red chalk, and heightened with...

Read more

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...

Read more

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,...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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.”...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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'....

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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 grander style to things,...

Read more

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...

Read more

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,...

Read more