The Dance Hall in Arles

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) – The Dance Hall in Arles, 1888 (Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay) – – The multitude of characters, the variety of their style of clothes and the way they overlap, skilfully portray a feeling of crowdedness and saturation. The portrait of Madame Roulin on the right, who alone turns to look at the spectator, seems to express a claustrophobic terror…

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) - The Dance Hall in Arles


Self-Portrait as a Painter

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) – Self-Portrait as a Painter, 1887-88 (Oil on canvas. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) – Van Gogh depicts himself as an artist, with all the necessary equipment: palette, brushes, and a canvas on a wooden easel. Contrasting colors, such as the blue of the smock and the orange-red of the beard, are set right next to each other in order to strengthen their effect…

Vincent van Gogh - Self-Portrait as a Painter


Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) – Oleanders, 1888 (Oil on canvas) – For Van Gogh, oleanders were joyous, life-affirming flowers that bloomed “inexhaustibly” and were always “putting out strong new shoots.” In this painting of August 1888 the flowers fill a majolica jug that the artist used for other still lifes made in Arles… They are symbolically juxtaposed with Émile Zola’s La joie de vivre…

Vincent van Gogh - Oleanders

Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): Portrait of Dr. Gachet, 1890 (Oil on canvas. First version) – Van Gogh painted Gachet, his physician… resting his right elbow on a red table, head in hand. Two yellow books, one of which is Manette Salomon, as well as the purple medicinal herb foxglove are displayed on the table… The doctor’s “sensitive face”, of which van Gogh wrote to Paul Gauguin, carried “the heartbroken expression of our time.”

Vincent van Gogh Portrait of Dr. Gache

I find everything poetic

I find everything poetic, and it’s in the corners of my heart which are sometimes mysterious that I catch a glimpse of poetry. Forms and colours brought into harmonies create a form of poetry in themselves. Without allowing myself to be surprised by the subject, when looking at a painting by someone else, I feel a sensation that leads me into a poetic state depending on whether the painter’s intellectual powers emanate from it.
Paul Gauguin, in a letter to Vincent van Gogh

A night painting without black

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): Cafe Terrace At Night (1888) here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colors itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green… Cafe Terrace at Night was one of the first scenes Van Gogh painted during his stay in Arles and the first painting where he used a nocturnal background. Using contrasting colors and tones, Van Gogh achieved a luminous surface that pulses with an interior light, almost in defiance of the darkening sky. The lines of composition all point to the center of the work drawing the eye along the pavement as if the viewer is strolling the cobblestone streets…

Vincent van Gogh Cafe Terrace At Night (1888)

Still Life – Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): Still Life – Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers (1889)
Van Gogh’s Sunflower series was intended to decorate the room that was set aside for Gauguin at the “Yellow House,” his studio and apartment in Arles… The lush brushstrokes built up the texture of the sunflowers and Van Gogh employed a wide spectrum of yellows to describe the blossoms, due in part to recently invented pigments that made new colors and tonal nuances possible. Van Gogh used the sunny hues to express the entire lifespan of the flowers, from the full bloom in bright yellow to the wilting and dying blossoms rendered in melancholy ochre. The traditional painting of a vase of flowers is given new life through Van Gogh’s experimentation with line and texture, infusing each sunflower with the fleeting nature of life, the brightness of the Provencal summer sun, as well as the artist’s mindset…

Vincent van Gogh Still Life Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers (1889)