Archive for Gauguin

Behind the paint ‘A Tale of Two Chairs’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by echostains

Van Gogh Chair with pipe 1888

I’ve just put a poem on my other blog Bookstains, using Vincent Van Gogh‘s very famous chair to illustrate it.  A recent (virtual) trip to the Van Gogh Museum (see this post) gave me the opportunity of seeing his paintings up close.  I have seen Van Gogh’s chair before in The National Gallery London – however, this isn’t the only chair the artist painted.

Gauguin's armchair 1888

When Van Gogh’s hero Gauguin stayed with him at the Yellow House in Arles, the  artists initially did get on with each other.  All this was to change though. Van Gogh painted two chair picures – his own chair and Gauguin’s  (Gauguin’s being in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.)  The  chairs embody  the differences between the two artists temperaments and approaches to art.

Van Gogh has painted Gauguin’s more comfier  stylish chair and placed it upon a carpet of flowers.  A candle  illuminates some books which lie there: the green wall behind it is lit  by a blazing lamp.  Van Gogh’s own yellow chair sits in the kitchen on old brown kitchen tiles.  A box of onions lie in the background and the blue door in the picture is shut.  Upon this battered high-backed chair with its stout uneven legs, lies a pipe and some tobacco wrapped  in a scrap of  crumpled paper.

The-Empty-Chair by Luke Fildes

The empty chairs show the artists having left them of course – even perhaps to have departed from this earth.  The contrasts between the chairs do seem to illustrate the differences between the artists (from Van Gogh’s viewpoint).  Van Gogh more attuned to the ethics of the hard working peasants and Gauguin more worldly and sophisticated. What is known is that Van Gogh, who liked  English graphic art was inspired by an image which he saw  in a Victorian Magazine The Graphic by Luke Fildes The Empty Chair, Gad’s Hill’ in 1870, the year Charles Dickens died. 

The paintings also acts as a reminder of that fateful night in 1888 when Van Gogh and Gauguin’s relationship finally reached breaking point, culminating in him threatening Gauguin with a razor (the latter wisely decided to stay at a local hotel that night) and Van Gogh proffered his severed ear lobe to a prostitute.

 Google art Project – Virtual trips around 17 famous museums here

Lots of information about these two paintings here

Van Gogh Images from here

Luke Fildes image from here

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Behind the Paint: ‘The bedroom at Arles’ Van Gogh

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT with tags , , , on March 24, 2010 by echostains

van-gogh self-portrait

I am introducing this new category ‘Behind the paint’.  I hope it will prove popular.  it will be attempt to interpret popular paintings.  the clues are there – it’s just a case of looking.  When we go to a gallery, of course we look at the paintings and appreciate the composition, the colours the way that the artists has captured or depicted the subject.  We also are aware of how the painting affects us emotionally.  But we also have to bear in mind the era these paintings were painted in and the people they were painted for to set that painting in it’s context.

van gogh yellow house at arles 1888

We know such a lot about Van Gogh and his life that every time we look at one of his paintings we think of his suffering – indeed sometimes we cannot separate them.  ‘The bedroom at Arles’ was first painted in 1888 (he painted 3 versions).

van Gogh bedroom at Arles

This version is his third one.  He painted this one for his mother.  He was recovering from a nervous breakdown in an asylum in St Remy.  Ten months after he painted this, the artist was dead.  He committed suicide.

Van Gogh worked with thick impasto – brushstrokes are always visible.  He is another painter who liked to squeeze paint directly from the tube.  he got through a lot of paint – especially yellow.   He liked to complete a painting in one day.  Poor Theo, his brother was always being asked for money to buy more paint. 

clearly defined brushstrokes

If you look around the room you will notice that there are two of nearly everything.  Pillows, water jugs, bottles, chairs. It has been said that because the first version of this painting was painted whilst Van Gogh was awaiting the arrival of Gauguin, the painting can be seen as Van Gogh’s unfulfilled wish for partnership and friendship with his fellow painter.  Alas, Van Gogh was in for a rude awakening regarding Gauguin.  Both artists proved much to volotile to really get along.

Gauguin and Van Gogh a volatile parnership

The chair was painted yellow.  Originally it was made of white wood.   Van Gogh loved the colour yellow: it symbolised happiness, sunlight and warmth to him.  The pictures over the bed are different in all three versions of the picture.  But in this version it is easy to see Van Gogh’s self-portrait besides his sister Wil.

the first version

the third and last version

The original floor was a red brick colour.    The last version has a sombre feel to it.  He was always aware of the emotional impact of colour and expressed himself through it. The red bedspread really affects the mood of the painting – without it the picture has a completely different feel.  If you cover it up you will see.  Van Gogh depicts the white room in blue/violet hue creating harmonies with the greens.  this The blue/violet hue of the room (which is really painted white) creates harmonies with the greens.  This particularly contrasts with the bed and chairs.

Japanese influenced

The outlines are dark – a trademark of Van Gogh’s. The artist was very much influenced by Japanese wood block prints.  He loved these simplified designs and their areas of flat colour – you can see these influences in his work.

The bed is a simple peasant’s bed.  He loved it because it was rustic.   He took this bed with him when he moved to Auvers.  It was the bed he died in. 

VanGogh gallery here

PS

Happy Birthdays Dear Artists!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by echostains

My section about celebrating artists birthdays is growing quite nicely.  There are lots of artists I want to write about but I don’t seem to have the time.  Those I do write about, I tend to make it brief.  I hate it when it’s an artist I really like and I’ve missed the birthday grrr!  You may  see ‘Happy Belated Birthday’ occasionally: I try to keep those to the next day.  Here are the one’s I have done so far;-

Rubens

Gauguin

Dali

Leonardo da Vinci

Hart Benton

Turner

Van Gogh

Morris

Pollock

Chagall

Kahlo

Modigliani

Degas

Hopper

Marcel Duchamp

Aubrey Beardsley

Pablo Picasso

Barabara  Hepworth

Man Ray

Happy Birthday Paul Gauguin! Sail Away!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on June 7, 2009 by echostains

Paul Gauguin,  Bohemian Adventurer

Paul Gauguin, Bohemian Adventurer

It’s French artist Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin’s birthday today!  Born in 1848 he would be ….well OLD if he was still alive.  His style is Post Impressionist.  His bold use of colour was influenced by folk art and Japanese prints and veers towards Cloisonnism (A form of encasing colour, used in enamelling).  In some paintings, you can see the heavy black outlining,as in the ‘Yellow Christ’

gauguin the yellow Christ

gauguin the yellow Christ

However, due to lack of recognition he sailed the seas looking for a haven where he could live off the land and not have to conform to convention.  He found Tahiti where he painted some of his more exciting  works.

 

gauguin-tahitian-women

gauguin-tahitian-women

By all accounts, he wasn’t an easy man to get along with, and seems to have spent a lot of his life arguing and striving towards some higher goals.  But although he was only in his early fifties when he died, he seems to have packed a lot into his short life including his art.  When supplies were short he would paint on pieces of wood.  A good account of his life is here

‘Where do we come from? what are we? and where are we going?’ 1897

Here is a list of links to post I have made so far concerning artist’s birthday.  I have tried to make it a rule that I actually LIKE the artists’ work!   Some artists I do like, I have not included so far, as their birthdays have clashed with something else I was writing about. Some birthdays I have only found out about when it was too late to include them , I mean to rectify this at a later date.

Rubens

Dali

Leonardo da Vinci

Hart Benton

Turner

Van Gogh

Morris

Pollock

Chagall

Kahlo

Modigliani

Degas

Hopper

Duchamp