Van Gogh and Japan: Part 3

Self-portrait dedicated to Paul Gauguin, September 1888, Oil on canvas, 62 × 52 cm Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, Image Source: wikimedia

Japan in Arles

“In early 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles in the south of France, where he hoped to establish an art colony. Believing that painting could be reinvented through the genre of portraiture, he encouraged his fellow artists to paint themselves, and then to exchange the canvases. After receiving self-portraits from Emile Bernard and Gauguin, who were working together in Brittany at the time, Van Gogh inscribed this painting “To my friend Paul Gauguin,” and sent it to him. He described the process of creating his arresting likeness in several letters to his brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris, explaining how he manipulated his features in response to Japanese prints, changed the contours of his jacket for coloristic effect, and painted the background “pale veronese green” without any shadows. Shortly after he sent the work to Gauguin, however, their friendship deteriorated, and Gauguin sold it for three hundred francs.”

Harvard Art Museum

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Vincent van Gogh at Christie’s

More At Sunnyside

Tag: Vincent van Gogh At Sunnyside

Tag: Japonisme At Sunnyside

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Find out more about Van Gogh and Japan at the Van Gogh Museum

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


12 Comments Add yours

  1. penwithlit says:

    Reblogged this on penwithlit and commented:
    Love Van Gogh more and more….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ashley says:

    A fascinating video! (I’m in the process of also learning from David Bull’s YouTube videos about all aspects of Japanese woodblock printing). Here is a link to one of them:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great channel! I can’t wait to learn more – thank you, Ashley! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A fascinating video clip, Sunnyside. Van Gogh understood what we humans today have yet to acknowledge: We have all been influenced in some way by other cultures across time and space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Rosaliene! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A terrific video. I lived in Japan a while back, and visited a gallery which featured Japanese artists who were influenced by Impressionism. I am not surprised that the fascination Van Gogh experienced with the Japanese and their art had such an impact on him. The portrait you feature is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cross-cultural influences in art are so interesting. How fortunate you are to have traveled to Japan, Vivienne! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love me some Vincent, especial after watching At Eternity’s Gate (2019).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just added to my list – thanks, Gia! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re super welcome! 🥳

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to catch up and see the other parts. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Sheila! Thanks for visiting. 🙂


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