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 diligences déportées’ in...

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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 Hiroshige Paris, 1887 Oil on canvas 73 x 54 cm Van...

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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 and Blue Fir Tree (The Poet's Garden III) Arles,...

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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. While in Amsterdam he painted 'De...

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Who inspired Van Gogh to paint weavers?

      09-10-2021     Comments (0)

It was Millet who portrayed peasants and laborers as heroes. It inspired Vincent van Gogh to depict farmers and weavers, dealing with the cycles of nature. Van Gogh also stood up for weavers as upcoming beet-sugar factories, railways and agricultural developments of the heath changed the landscape that he loved. Today 137 years ago, on 9 October 1884, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "My dear Theo, Here are the two photographs of the weavers. Next week I hope to send you two subjects from the decorations for Hermans.” Two photographs of weavers have survived as ‘cartes de visite’: they are Weaver and Weaver standing in front of his loom, which he also painted. Weaver (seen from the Front) Nuenen, 1884 Oil on canvas 70 x 85 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The...

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Did Van Gogh's illness have impact on his paintings?

      08-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was not able to paint at all when he was in hospital due to severe mental illness. Perhaps his mood swings sparked creativity at some stages. But one year after his breakdown Van Gogh was happy with the quality of his paintings, thanks to regained stability of his health. Today 132 years ago, on 8 October 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Saint-Rémy: "I had more control over myself in these latest studies, because my state of health had firmed up. So there’s also a no. 30 canvas with broken lilac ploughed fields and a background of mountains that go all the way up the canvas; so nothing but rough ground and rocks, with a thistle and dry grass in a corner, and a little violet and yellow man. That will prove, I hope, that I haven’t yet gone soft.” Enclosed Field...

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Did Van Gogh paint Amsterdam?

      07-10-2021     Comments (0)

When Vincent van Gogh lived in Nuenen in 1885 he took a train from Eindhoven to Amsterdam where he painted two small works: ' View of Amsterdam from Central Station ' and ' De Ruyterkade in Amsterdam '. Today 136 years ago, on 7 October 1885, Van Gogh was in Amsterdam to visit the Rijksmuseum. A few days later, back in Nuenen, he wrote to Theo: "The two little panels I painted in Amsterdam were done in a tearing hurry, one of them, mark you, in the station waiting room when I was a bit early for the train, the other one in the morning, before I went to the museum at about 10 o’clock. Even so, I’m sending them to you, in the manner of tiles on which one has dashed something off with a few strokes.” The ‘two souvenirs of Amsterdam’ are the small panels View in Amsterdam...

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Was Vincent van Gogh’s brother Theo successful?

      06-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent's younger brother Theo van Gogh became world famous as he supported the now world famous painter mentally and financially. Vincent’s success can be considered brotherly team work in that sense. Theo’s successful career as an art dealer made this possible. In 1880, at age 23, when his brother Vincent started painting at age 27, Theo became director of Goupil & Cie in Paris. 5 years before, it was actually Vincent who supported Theo. Today 146 years ago, on 6 October 1875 Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Paris: "My dear Theo, Even though I wrote to you only recently, I want to do so again anyway, because I know how difficult life can sometimes be. Keep your chin up, old boy, after rain comes sunshine, just keep hoping for that. Rain and sunshine alternate on ‘the road that goes uphill all...

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What do Van Gogh and Rembrandt have in common?

      05-10-2021     Comments (0)

Of course Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt van Rijn are both world famous Dutch painters. What few people know is that Rembrandt's work was painted quickly, like Van Gogh’s paintings. Today 136 years ago Van Gogh visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A week later he wrote to Theo: "What particularly struck me when I saw the old Dutch paintings again is that they were usually painted quickly. That these great masters like Hals, Rembrandt, Ruisdael — so many others — as far as possible just put it straight down — and didn’t come back to it so very much.” In the Rijksmuseum Van Gogh was able to study Rembrandt’s ‘Nightwatch’ and 'The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’ Four years after he visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam Van Gogh painted "Van...

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Was Van Gogh a hard worker?

      03-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was not only able to make 2000 paintings and drawings in 10 years, but the thoughts and preparation that went into a painting were immense as well. Endless discussions with fellow artists and his brother made his work develop to colorful masterpieces in his own authentic style. Carrying around his easel through the French countryside made it also physically hard work. Today 133 years ago, on 3 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "Ah — my study of the vineyards — I sweated blood and tears over it — but I have it — another square no. 30 canvas — once again for the decoration of the house.” The Green Vineyard Arles, 1888 Oil on canvas 72 x 92 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands And one month later Van Gogh painted...

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How did Vincent van Gogh travel?

      03-10-2021     Comments (0)

Van Gogh was born in 1853 and died in 1890. He traveled a lot. Not only within The Netherlands, but also to England, Belgium and France. There were no cars and no planes, so he took the boat to England, a train from Paris to Arles, went in a coach from Arles to paint the Mediterranean in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. And traveled on a barge in Drenthe, enjoying the view of the heath. Today 138 years ago, on 3 October 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote from Nieuw-Amsterdam (countryside not Amsterdam): "My dear Theo, This time I’m writing to you from the very back of beyond in Drenthe, where I arrived after an endless trip through the heath on the barge. I see no way of describing the countryside to you as it should be done, because words fail me. But imagine the banks of the canal as miles and miles of Michels or T....

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How many self-portraits did Van Gogh paint?

      02-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh painted 35 self-portraits. It was not easy for him to find models. Using a mirror he was able to paint himself, which he did no less than 25 times when he lived in Paris. Today 140 years ago, at beginning of October 1881, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Etten in The Netherlands: "I want to tell you what I’ve done since I last wrote to you. First of all, two large drawings (chalk and some sepia) of Pollard willows.. Then I had a model a couple of times, digger and basket-maker… I count myself very lucky to be able to get models, I’m also searching around for a horse and donkey." Digger Etten, October 1881 Charcoal, chalk, watercolour, on paper 62.2 x 46.8 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read: Was Van Gogh left-handed? Van Gogh's...

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What were Van Gogh’s good work habits?

      01-10-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh met the young artist Émile Bernard (1868 - 1941) in Paris at age 33. Bernard was only 18 years old at the time and Vincent advised him how to live in order to work successfully.. Today 133 years ago, between 27 September and 1 October 1888, Van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "But in order to do good work you have to eat well, be well housed, have a screw from time to time, smoke your pipe and drink your coffee in peace. I’m not saying that the rest counts for nothing, and leave everyone free to do as he sees fit, but I do say that this system seems preferable to many others to me.” Photo: Émile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh (his back to the camera) along the Seine in Asnières. You may also like to read: Van Gogh and Emile Bernard Émile...

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How many sowers did Van Gogh paint?

      30-09-2021     Comments (1)

Van Gogh made more than 30 drawings and paintings on with sowers. Jean-François Millet was a big inspiration for Vincent. Both artists portrayed peasants and painting them showed that they were proud of being from the countryside. Today 137 years ago, on 30 September 1884, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "My dear Theo, I send you herewith two photographs — you’ll get another two of weavers later. I was planning to have 12 photographs taken, a series of Brabant scenes, including the 6 that I’m making for Hermans.” Van Gogh sent photographs of a woman spinning and a sower. The paintings themselves are not known, we only know of them thanks to these two small photographs. 4 years later Van Gogh painted The Sower: The Sower Arles, 1888 32.5 x 40.3 cm Van Gogh Museum,...

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Did Van Gogh like music?

      29-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh liked Wagner’s music and he even took piano lessons in Eindhoven. Sometimes he compared his paintings with music. Would he have painted Starry Night over the Rhone with Wagner’s opera on his mind? Today 133 years ago, on 29 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "I wouldn’t be surprised if you liked the starry night (over the Rhône, VGS) and the ploughed fields — they’re calmer than some other canvases. If the work always went like that I’d have fewer worries about money, because people would come to it more easily if the technique continued to be more harmonious. But this bloody mistral is a real nuisance for doing brushstrokes that hold together and intertwine well, with feeling, like a piece of music played with emotion.”...

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How many versions of "Wheat Field with Cypresses” did Van Gogh paint?

      28-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh painted 3 versions of Wheat Field with Cypresses. One resides in The Met in NY , one in the National Gallery in London . And there is a third, smaller one, in private collection. Today 132 years ago, on 28 September 1889, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "Soon I’m sending you a few smaller canvases with the 4 or 5 studies I wanted to give to Mother and our sister. These studies are drying at the moment. It’s no. 10 and no. 12 canvases, reductions of the Wheatfield and cypresses, Olive trees, Reaper and Bedroom and a little portrait of me." The Wheat Field with Cypresses Vincent mentions here is a smaller version (51,5 x 65 cm) than the famous versions in The Met in NY and the National Gallery in London. It is in private collection and...

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Was Van Gogh a food lover?

      27-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh preferred to spend his brother’s financial support on canvas and paint rather than expensive restaurants. He did like a nice restaurant though and an empty stomach wouldn’t lead to beautiful paintings. Today 133 years ago, between 27 September and 1 October 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from Arles: "I’m beginning to believe more and more that food has something to do with our power to think and to make paintings; as for me, it doesn’t contribute to the success of my work if my stomach’s bothering me.” Earlier that year: "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...

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Did Van Gogh and Gauguin work together?

      26-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were roommates, exchanged paintings, painted together, painted each other, wrote each other letters, discussed art and worked together by painting the same topic: Breton Women. Today 133 years ago, on 26 September 1888, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Pont-Aven: "I’ve just done a religious painting, very badly done, but which was interesting to do, and which I like. I wanted to give it to the church at Pont-Aven. They don’t want it, of course. Breton women, grouped together, are praying; costumes very intense black. The yellow-white bonnets very luminous.” Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret each painted their version of Breton women. The painting on this page is Van Gogh’s: Breton Women and Children Arles,...

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Was Van Gogh jealous of Milliet?

      25-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh admired lieutenant Paul Eugène Milliet (‘The lover’) for his way with women. He confesses to Theo: ‘Milliet’s lucky, he has all the Arlésiennes he wants, but there you are, he can’t paint them, and if he was a painter he wouldn’t have any.’ In this portrait he depicts him as the prototype of a lover. Today 133 years ago, on 25 September 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "As long as autumn lasts I won’t have enough hands, canvas or colours to paint the beautiful things that I see. I’m also working on the portrait of Milliet, but he poses badly, or else it’s my fault, which I don’t believe, however, because I badly need some studies of him because he’s good-looking, very jaunty, very easy-going in his...

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Did Van Gogh use varnish?

      24-09-2021     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh preferred a matt finish and not use varnish. He did recommend Theo to use varnish in a particular situation though. Today 138 years ago, on 24 September 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Hoogeveen: "Today I’m sending a package of 3 studies which I hope are dry enough. However, if they stick to the sheet of paper I laid on them as a precaution, soak them off with lukewarm water. The smallest one, in particular, has sunk in a lot, go over it with the white of an egg in about a week, or some varnish in a month’s time, to lift them. I’m sending them to let you take a look, and better after this — really.” Quite possible “Cottages” was part of this shipment. Cottages Nieuw Amsterdam, 1883 Oil on canvas 35.4 x 55.7 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You...

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