Père Tanguy and Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh created three paintings of Père Tanguy during his time in Paris.  Julien François Tanguy, also known as Père or “Father” Tanguy, was a paint dealer with a store on the Rue Clauzel, where Van Gogh frequently purchased paints.  Tanguy was known for selling products for cheap prices and allowed artists to make purchases on credit or in exchange for paintings, but the supplies were somewhat questionable in quality.  Tanguy had socialist political views and had to go into exile due to his participation in the Paris Commune.  The artists saw him as a hero who shared their utopian principles. On June 21, 1888, Van Gogh wrote to …..

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Van Gogh’s Irises

In May of 1889, Van Gogh admitted himself to the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.  In his final year of life, he painted some 130 works.  Within the first week at the asylum, he began to paint Irises; the subject matter was inspired by the asylum’s garden to the south of the men’s section, and the style influenced by Japanese woodblock prints.  We see the Japanese influence in the strong outlines, unusual angles, cropped up-close views of the irises falling off the canvas and the use of color. There are no known drawings or sketches of Irises, probably because Van Gogh considered this to be a study.  He …..

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Van Gogh and Japanese Art, Part 2

Oiran (The Courtesan) Painted in the summer and autumn of 1887, Oiran, also known as The Courtesan, is an image of a Japanese woman copied by Van Gogh from a print by Keisai Eisen which was on the cover of the May 1886 Paris Illustré, a magazine that featured an article about Japan.  Van Gogh’s copy differs from the original in several significant ways. Van Gogh used transparent paper and traced the woman from the cover of the magazine and then created a grid over her so that he could later enlarge and transfer the image to a canvas.  The motifs around the woman, the water landscape, bamboo canes, water …..

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