Tag Archives: van gogh


chair van gogh

Vincent van Gogh painted this chair as a relative self-portrait. Artists love personification. I mean, darling, right?! Humble, quaint, simple.

Now, get ready to cringe. Below, van Gogh’s portrait of Gauguin.

chair gauguin

Showy, gaudy, just completely over the top. If this is to “portray” Gauguin, my hate level just rose exponentially. And, personally, I’m not even a little surprised. I just feel even worse for van Gogh for wanting to hang out and do this loser’s homework. Though if he did it on purpose to show how much Gauguin sucks, bravo, fine fellow.

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emile bernard

bernard self portrait

I’m actually starting to think that Emile Bernard was the classic mean girl boy. Hear me out. In 1888, Vincent van Gogh is endlessly writing letters to Gauguin and Bernard about creating an “artistic community.” I mean, these letters — like this one, to Bernard in June of ’88 — are desperate.

I’m just imagining the two recipients just giggling like high school girls at their French studios at Vincent’s expense.

So, in the classic mean girl (think Mean Girls’ Plastics) fashion, Bernard sends the above self-portrait as a big “Oh, you want to hang out with us? That’s so sweet!

And you know what van Gogh writes back?!

Van Gogh was enthusiastic about the gift – “a couple of simple tones, a couple of dark lines, but it is [as] elegant as a real, genuine Manet.”

I read “elegant,” but all I’m envisioning are those less-popular girls that fawn over Regina George:

Well, it turns out Emile Bernard is, in fact, our story’s Cady Heron. He’s the one to arrange Vincent van Gogh’s first retrospective after his death in 1890. But where Mean Girls grants Cady the cute boy and the diverse friendships, Bernard loses Gauguin. They sharply split ways because Georges-Albert Aurier named Gauguin the leader of Symbolism and initiator of the Synthetist manner, a title Bernard felt entitled to.

Can’t win ’em all, Emile.

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les miserables

gauguin miserables

Get a load of this nonsense: Paul Gauguin paints himself as Jean Valjean. Yeah, we’re talking WOLVERINE’S Jean Valjean.

From the Vincent van Gogh Museum (who, sadly, owns the work):

Gauguin compared this fictional hero, a man rejected by society despite his inner power and love, with the misunderstood artists of his own time, including himself.

This painting was also dedicated to Vincent van Gogh. Emile Bernard’s in the background.

I’m starting to realize why it’s called the miserable.

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joseph-etienne roulin

Vincent van Gogh painted six portraits of the Joseph-Etienne Roulin, the mailman, between July 1888 and April 1889. I mean, the man owes a few high fives and paintings to the postal service — the Letters of Vincent van Gogh surpass 900 pieces of correspondence. 

I know Roulin didn’t deliver all of them, but my goodness, let’s do the math: That’s one postman painting for every 140 letters written. 

The Barnes does a great job letting the world know their painting is “brighter and fresher” than the other versions of Roulin, and it’s the only one that’s signed. You know what, Barnes? I’m starting to get a similar opinion I have of you that I have for Gauguin. It’s not even a feeling, it’s just a low groan.

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bedroom(s) at arles

One of my favorite games is “Spot the Differences.” I own that feature in People magazine. Today’s edition features Roy Lichtenstein’s Bedroom at Arles (part of the Meyerhoff collection at the Fitzhugh Farm) and van Gogh’s. 

Ready, set, spot!



Roy really hates visible nails, hanging fixtures, and messes. He makes up for it with his love of Ben-Day dots and folded towels.

While you won’t see Bedroom, the “Pop Art Prints” exhibition features prominent work by Roy. Go after a happy hour. You’ll look so cultured. 

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wheat field


Vincent van Gogh shot himself in a wheat field in 1890, staggered home, and died two days later. No one asked if he was okay because they thought he was drunk. “Wheat Field with Crows” is speculated to be his last work.

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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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Norman Rockwell’s triple self-portrait features other artists that investigated the selfie, including Rembrandt, Durer, Picasso, and van Gogh. He was also a major fan of the afternoon Coca Cola.

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With Gauguin, blood and sex have the edge over ambition.” 

Naturally, Vincent. No wonder Emile Bernard thought you were weird as hell.

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