self-portrait as bonze

Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait as a Japanese Bonze” was sent to Paul Gauguin as an old-school evite to to join him in south of France to create an artistic community.

He had previously written to Emile Bernard that he was impressed with the tradition of Japanese artists exchanging artworks with each other and hoped the two chums would join him in Arles. I’m calling this the original bromance.

It was later auctioned off in 1939 after being labeled “degenerate” by the Nazis and confiscated. It now belongs to the Harvard Art Museum.

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