Arts Everyday Living: Take an Art Walk with Van Gogh, from Holland to the South of France

 

 

THROUGH AN ARTIST’S EYES: LEARNING TO LIVE CREATIVELY

ART WALKS WITH VAN GOGH, PART I

Tomorrow I will be presenting the first class of a three part series based on my book Through an Artist’s Eyes: Leaning to Live Creatively.  We will be discussing how experiencing the landscape visions of some of the great masters such as Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Vincent van Gogh can enrich and expand our personal horizons.

So let’s take an art walk with Dutch icon Van Gogh (1853-1890)—but first we have to find  some appropriate shoes to assist us on our journey. However I wouldn’t advise Vincent’s worn and even dilapidated pair below!

 

Vincent van Gogh, Shoes, Paris, September-November, 1886, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

 

Vincent spent the early years of his artistic career in the Netherlands where he had born and raised. Mainly self-taught, he initially focused on drawing and then advanced to working in oils, utilizing a somber palette of primarily browns and grays. By 1885, he was staying with his parents in Nuenen, where he created A Peasant Woman Digging in Front of her Cottage, inspired by the local peasants whose fortitude and endurance he admired.

 

Vincent van Gogh, A Peaant Woman Digging in Front of Her Cottage, c. 1885, oil on canvas, Bequest of Dr. John Ireland, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

 

In the beginning of 1886, Vincent arrived in the artistic mecca of Paris, moving in with his art dealer brother Theo, who would ultimately provide financial support for the struggling Van Gogh. The two of them resided in Montmarte, also the neighborhood of the avant-garde Impressionists, high above the rest of the city where Vincent painted this View of Paris. Note the expressive brushstrokes he utilizes in the sky.

 

Vincent van Gogh, View of Paris, Paris, June-July, 1886, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

 

In Terrace and Observation Deck at the Moulin de Blute-Fin, Montmartre, Vincent again takes us to the heights of Montmartre and what looks like a tourist attraction.  This time, though, he lightens the colors  and atmosphere as well as enhancing  the overall mood, perhaps an indication of the growing influence of the Impressionists whose works he had already observed in the French capital.

 

Vincent van Gogh, Terrace and Observation Deck at the Moulin de Blute-Fin, Montmartre, early 1887, oil on canvas, mounted on pressboard, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

 

After two years in Paris, Vincent leaves for Arles in southern France, seeking revitalization in nature and the surrounding countryside. After an initial (and surprising snow), Vincent discovers the blossoming orchards of spring in The Pink Orchard, using the vibrant tones and luminous light he had absorbed from his exposure to the works of Impressionist masters like Monet.

 

Vincent van Gogh, The Pink Orchard, Arles, Arles beginning of April, 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

 

While Field with Irises near Arles is a reflection of the next stage of the season, where our eye travels from the purple beauty of the irises, then to the golden yellow fields, finally ending in the fresh green leaves of the trees and the nearby pink buildings.

 

Vincent van Gogh, Field with Irises near Arles, Arles, May 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

 

COMING ON TUESDAY: CONTINUING OUR JOURNEY WITH VAN GOGH

 

 

 

 

 

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The Van Gogh Museum does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the Van Gogh Museum participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

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The Art Institute of Chicago does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the Art Institute of Chicago participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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