A native of Holland, many of Van Gogh’s early drawings depicted Dutch landscapes and life. A common fixture in the Dutch landscape even today is the windmill. Van Gogh created several different drawings containing windmills. The windmills were also a very popular subject for Van Gogh during his stay in Paris in 1886 and 1887. Living in an apartment with his brother Theo in Montmartre, the mills (le moulin) were not only part of the scenery but eventually became part of the nightlife as many were converted into dance halls and cabarets. However, Van Gogh’s depiction of the windmills showed more of the gray and desolate side of Montmartre rather than a city beginning to boom with growth from Paris.
Many of Van Gogh’s windmill paintings and drawings are on display in museums today all over the world. Sadly, Van Gogh’s painting Windmill on Montmartre, autumn, 1886 (F: 271, JH: 1186) was destroyed by fire in 1967. View more of Van Gogh’s Windmills here:
To think windmills represent the future as well the past. School children love making windmills.