Van Gogh painting sunflowers - Wikiwand

Two Sunflowers (1887), Vincent van Gogh.

Sunflowers, one of van Gogh's favorite subjects, have become a symbol of the relationship between the two painters. When they met in Paris in 1887, Gauguin asked him to exchange the picture Two Sunflowers for one of his own.

In 1888 they lived together for two months in Arles, Yellow house". Van Gogh, waiting for Gauguin, decorated his room with pictures of sunflowers. Gauguin describes it this way:

In my yellow room there were purple-eyed sunflowers on a yellow background. They were in a yellow vase on a yellow table. In one corner of the painting was the painter's signature: Vincent. The yellow sun that shone through the yellow curtains of the room flooded this magnificent flower with gold ... Oh, yes, the divine Vincent loved the yellow [...] I adored the red.

The relationship between the two artists was intense. They admired each other and at the same time rivaled and argued until the relationship abruptly ended tragically. Van Gogh worked quickly and impulsively. Gauguin preferred more elaborate work, with different preliminary studies. Gauguin summarizes it in an anecdote: Vincent wanted to prepare a soup, but I do not know how he mixed the ingredients, no doubt how he mixed the colors in his paintings. The case is that we could not eat it.

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(1888), Vincent van Gogh.

The scene is taken from above. The frame cuts the essential components: the painter, the palette, the easel and the table with the vase of sunflowers. The center of the picture is quite empty. The fabric is of scrim with a granular surface. Gauguin applied relatively dry paint on a thin layer.

The painting was painted in early December, when sunflowers are not in bloom. Van Gogh had made a first series of pictures of sunflowers in August of the same year, before the arrival of Gauguin, and a second in January, 1889, after he left. Therefore, Gauguin did not coincide with van Gogh painting sunflowers. But one of the versions, Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (1888), was part of the decoration of his room in the «Casa Amarilla». With this Gauguin highlights another of the differences they had. While he preferred to paint by memory, combining different elements, van Gogh advocated painting the models of direct observation of nature.

> Still life with sunflowers on an armchair (I) (1901).

Still life with sunflowers on an armchair (II) (1901).

Still Life with La Espezanza (1901).

  • Adam Floyd