Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:39 am

I've been chickening out of any attempt to resurrect the old ATUI Van Gogh thread by sprinking the board with images of his work, but it looks as though the time has come to grasp the nettle:


Vincent in 1886, aged approx 13.


Vincent age 18, c. 1871–1872. This photograph was taken at the time when he was working at the branch of Goupil & Cie's gallery at The Hague.



His brother Theo in 1878 at age 21. Theo was a life-long supporter and friend to his brother. The two are buried together at Auvers-sur-Oise.


Vincent and Theo Van Gogh's graves at the cemetery of Auvers-sur-Oise.


Self-portrait Without Beard, end of September 1889, (F 525), Oil on canvas, 40 × 31 cm., Private collection. This was Van Gogh's last self portrait. Given as a birthday gift to his mother.



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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:50 am

He began his artistic career by sketching and painting scenes of peasant life in the mud-coloured palette and dim light of Northern Europe:


The Potato-Eaters, 1888. Van Gogh Museum.

...and ended up painting like this:


Painter on the Road to Tarascon (August 1888), Vincent van Gogh on the road to Montmajour, oil on canvas, 48 × 44 cm., formerly Museum Magdeburg, believed to have been destroyed by fire in World War II.

********************************************************************************

What had happened in between?



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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:56 am

But before we attempt to answer that question, here's a couple of snap-shots of his journey:


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Portrait of Vincent van Gogh (1887), pastel drawing, Van Gogh Museum.


Paul Gauguin, The Painter of Sunflowers: Portrait of Vincent van Gogh (1888), Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.



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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:07 am

@eddie wrote:What had happened in between?

Three things, mainly:

1. His exposure to Japanese Art.

2. His exposure in Paris to the work of the Impressionists.

3. His (sunburned) exposure to the sunlight of Southern Europe.

(...and absinthe, whores etc, naturally)

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:55 am

@eddie wrote:1. His exposure to Japanese art

Wiki:

During his stay in Paris, he collected Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints. His interest in such works date to his 1885 stay in Antwerp when he used them to decorate the walls of his studio. He collected hundreds of prints, and they can be seen in the backgrounds of several of his paintings. In his 1887 Portrait of Père Tanguy several are shown hanging on the wall behind the main figure. In The Courtesan or Oiran (after Kesai Eisen) (1887), Van Gogh traced the figure from a reproduction on the cover of the magazine Paris Illustre and then graphically enlarged it in his painting. Plum Tree in Blossom (After Hiroshige) 1888 is another strong example of Van Gogh's admiration of the Japanese prints that he collected. His version is slightly bolder than the original.



Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887), Musée Rodin.


Courtesan (after Eisen) (1887), Van Gogh Museum.


The Blooming Plumtree (after Hiroshige) (1887), Van Gogh Museum.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:11 am

@eddie wrote:2. His exposure in Paris to the work of the Impressionists.

Wiki:

Van Gogh greatly admired the work of Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli after seeing it in Paris when he arrived there in 1886. Van Gogh immediately adopted a brighter palette and a bolder attack. In 1890, Van Gogh and his brother Theo were instrumental in publishing the first book about Monticelli.

For months, Van Gogh worked at Cormon's studio where he frequented the circle of the British-Australian artist John Peter Russell, and met fellow students like Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who painted a portrait of Van Gogh with pastel. The group would meet at the paint store run by Julien "Père" Tanguy, which was at that time the only place to view works by Paul Cézanne. He had easy access to Impressionist works in Paris at the time. In 1886, two large vanguard exhibitions were staged. In these shows Neo-Impressionism made its first appearance—works of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were the talk of the town. Though Theo, too, kept a stock of Impressionist paintings in his gallery on Boulevard Montmarte—by artists including Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro—Vincent seemingly had problems acknowledging developments in how artists view and paint their subject matter. Conflicts arose, and at the end of 1886 Theo found shared life with Vincent "almost unbearable". By the spring of 1887 they had made peace.

He moved to Asnières a northwestern suburb of Paris, where he became acquainted with Signac. With Émile Bernard he adopted elements of pointillism, whereby many small dots are applied to the canvas to give an optical blend of hues when seen from a distance. The style stresses the value of complementary colors—including blue and orange—to form vibrant contrasts and enhance each other when juxtaposed. While in Asnières he painted parks and restaurants and the Seine, including Bridges across the Seine at Asnieres.


Bridges Across the Seine at Asnieres.

In November 1887, Theo and Vincent met and befriended Paul Gauguin who had just arrived in Paris.Towards the end of the year, Vincent arranged an exhibition of paintings by himself, Bernard, Anquetin, and probably Toulouse-Lautrec in the Grand-Bouillon Restaurant du Chalet, 43 Avenue de Clichy, in Montmartre. There Bernard and Anquetin sold their first paintings, and Van Gogh exchanged work with Gauguin who soon departed to Pont-Aven. Discussions on art, artists and their social situations that started during this exhibition continued and expanded to include visitors to the show like Pissarro and his son Lucien, Signac and Seurat. Finally in February 1888, feeling worn out from life in Paris, he left, having painted over 200 paintings during his two years in the city. Only hours before his departure, accompanied by Theo, he paid his first and only visit to Seurat in his atelier (studio).

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:24 pm

Japanese, Impressionist and Pointillist influences become apparent in his series of swirling Cypress paintings:


Cypresses with two female figures. Saint-Rémy, June 1889. Oil on canvas


Zypressen. Saint-Remy, Juni 1889 Öl auf Leinwand, 93,3 x 74 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Rogers Fund, 1949), New York.


Kornfeld mit Zypressen. Oktober 1889, Öl auf Leinwand, 73 x 92 cm; London


Saint-Rémy - Road with Cypress and Star. May 1890.






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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:32 pm

Here comes the Sun..... sunny sunny sunny

Photos of Arles, Southern France where the quality of light was to have a transforming influence on Vincent's work:


Where Van Gogh painted "Cafe at Night".


Where Van Gogh painted "Starry Night".


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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:58 pm

With the move to Arles (joined later by Gaugin), it's as though an incandescent light of inspiration, fiercely bright, burned for a while in his mind and it was during this period he produced much of the work for which we now remember him.

Gone for a while was the silent, anxious and depressed boy of 13 who had dutifully followed his father into the ministry in the Dutch Reformed Church...



...and preached for a while in London and in the Borinage mining district of Belgium.

I don't think it's too much of an imaginative leap to suggest that his early religious emotion was sublimated in the paintings he produced during the Arles period (although the absinthe and the whores might also have had something to do with it).

Anyway, for a while everything was tranfigured...


The Sower, 1888.

...until, that is, his demons came back to haunt him:


On the Threshold of Eternity. 1890.Oil on canvas






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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:09 pm

But that is to get ahead of ourselves.

Here are a few painting from the Arles period, the first few dealing with the subject of his domestic arrangements:


The Yellow House at Arles, 1888.


Bedroom at Arles, 1888.


Van Gogh's Chair, 1888.


Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, 1888.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:16 pm

...but still, in the back of his mind, the (Dutch Reformed?) demons lurked:


Night Cafe, 1888.

Wiki:

Van Gogh wrote about The Night Café: "I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime."

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:04 am


The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night (September 1888), Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:07 am


Starry Night Over the Rhone (1888), Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:23 am

He also painted the locals:


Joseph Roulin (The Postman) (1888), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


L'Arlesienne: Madame Ginoux with Books (November 1888), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.


Patience Escalier, second version (August 1888), Private collection.


La Mousmé (1888), National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.


Le Zouave (half-figure) (June 1888), Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:37 am

...but it all came apart.

After a quarrel with Gaugin, he famously cut off part of his ear with a razor, wrapped it in newspaper and handed it to one of the girls at the local brothel:


Self portrait with bandaged ear, 1889.

He was admitted first to hospital and later to the mental asylum at Saint-Remy.

Wiki:

Gauguin told one of the policeman attending the case, "Be kind enough, Monsieur, to awaken this man with great care, and if he asks for me tell him I have left for Paris; the sight of me might prove fatal for him." Gauguin wrote of Van Gogh, "His state is worse, he wants to sleep with the patients, chase the nurses, and washes himself in the coal bucket. That is to say, he continues the biblical mortifications."


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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:44 am

It was in the Saint-Remy asylum that he painted these:


Starry Night, 1889.


Olive Trees with the Apilles in the Background, 1889.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:50 am

Antonin Artaud, author of "The Theatre and its Double", wrote an essay called "van Gogh: the Man Suicided by Society", of which this is an excerpt:

*********************************************************************************

Antonin Artaud

One can speak of the good mental health of Van Gogh who, in his whole adult life, cooked only one of his hands and did nothing else except once to cut off his left ear,

in a world in which every day one eats vagina cooked in green sauce or penis of newborn child whipped and beaten to a pulp,

just as it is when plucked from the sex of its mother.

And this is not an image, but a fact abundantly and daily repeated and cultivated throughout the world.
And this, however delirious this statement may seem, is how modern life maintains its old atmosphere of debauchery, anarchy, disorder, delirium, derangement, chronic insanity, bourgeois inertia, psychic anomaly (for it is not man but the world which has become abnormal), deliberate dishonesty and notorious hypocrisy, stingy contempt for everything that shows breeding.

insistence on an entire order based on the fulfillment of a primitive injustice, in short, of organized crime.

Things are going badly because sick consciousness has a vested interest right now in not recovering from its sickness. This is why a tainted society has invented psychiatry to defend itself against the investigations of certain superior intellects whose faculties of divination would be troublesome.

...In comparison with the lucidity of Van Gogh, which is a dynamic force, psychiatry is no better than a den of apes who are themselves obsessed and persecuted and who possess nothing to mitigate the most appalling states of anguish and human suffocation but a ridiculous terminology,

worthy product of their damaged brains.

An excerpt from "Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society," originally published in Paris, in 1947.






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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:00 am


Wheatfield With Crows, 1890.

^
One of Van Gogh's last paintings, in which all roads lead nowhere and the crows gather.

Wiki:

Recently acquitted from the hospital, Van Gogh suffered a severe setback in December 1889. Although he had been troubled by mental illness throughout his life, the episodes became more pronounced during his last few years. In some of these periods he was either unwilling or unable to paint, a factor which added to the mounting frustrations of an artist at the peak of his ability. His depression gradually deepened. On 27 July 1890, aged 37, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He survived the impact and managed to walk back to the Ravoux Inn. He died there two days later. Theo rushed to be at his side. Theo reported his brother's last words as "La tristesse durera toujours" (the sadness will last forever).

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:03 am

NOTE: This thread takes a few liberties here and there with the strict chronology of Vincent's work. Since themes and preoccupations overlap in life as in Art, I think that's no great crime.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:17 pm

FOOTNOTE: It is striking just how many self portraits Vincent painted, hinting at a self-examination deriving from a sense of sin (or that's my guess):

Here are a few:


Self-Portrait, Spring (1887), Oil on pasteboard, 42 × 33.7 cm., Art Institute of Chicago.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:20 pm


September 1889, (F 627), Oil on canvas, 65 × 54 cm., Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:23 pm


Self-portrait dedicated to Paul Gauguin, September 1888 (F 476), Oil on canvas, 62 × 52 cm., Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:26 pm


Self-portrait (1889), National Gallery of Art. All self-portraits executed in Saint-Rémy in fact show the artist's head from the right, i.e. the side with the unmutilated ear, since he painted himself as he saw himself in the mirror.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:29 pm


Self Portrait with Straw Hat, 1887.

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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:24 am

Peter Duggan's Artoons – Gauguin and Van Gogh

In Peter Duggan's reimagining of art history, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh establish an artists' colony. But how long before one of them is out on his ear?


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Re: Vincent Van Gogh

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