Van Gogh’s Mediterranean

“We can tell that Van Gogh painted this view of the sea from the beach, as grains of sand have been found in the paint layers. It was done at the fishing village of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, during a trip he took from Arles in the south of France. In addition to the blue and white that he brushed onto the canvas with bold strokes, he used green and yellow for the waves. He applied these colours with a palette knife, neatly capturing the effect of the light through the waves.

Van Gogh was enthusiastic about the colours of the Mediterranean Sea. He wrote that it ‘has a colour like mackerel, in other words, changing – you don’t always know if it’s green or purple – you don’t always know if it’s blue – because a second later, its changing reflection has taken on a pink or grey hue’. The bright red signature has been placed prominently in the foreground: it was intended as a ‘red note in the green’.”



The Mediterranean of Van Gogh

My dear Theo,‎

I’m writing to you from Saintes-Maries on the Mediterranean at last. The Mediterranean ‎has a colour like mackerel, in other words, changing — you don’t always know if it’s ‎green or purple — you don’t always know if it’s blue — because a second later, its ‎changing reflection has taken on a pink or grey hue.‎
It’s a funny thing, the family — quite unintentionally, and despite myself, I’ve often ‎thought here from time to time of our uncle the seaman, who has certainly seen the ‎shores of this sea many times.‎

‎(…) I took a walk along the seashore one night, on the deserted beach. It wasn’t ‎cheerful, but not sad either, it was beautiful.‎

The sky, a deep blue, was flecked with clouds of a deeper blue than primary blue, an ‎intense cobalt, and with others that were a lighter blue — like the blue whiteness of ‎milky ways. Against the blue background stars twinkled, bright, greenish, white, light ‎pink — brighter, more glittering, more like precious stones than at home — even in ‎Paris. So it seems fair to talk about opals, emeralds, lapis, rubies, sapphires. The sea a ‎very deep ultramarine — the beach a mauvish and pale reddish shade, it seemed to me ‎‎— with bushes. In addition to half-sheet drawings I have a large drawing, the pendant ‎of the last one. ‎

More soon, I hope. Handshake.‎

Ever yours,‎

Seascape by Van Gogh

A ‘Van Gogh’ you’ve never seen

“The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant color, well arranged, resplendent.” – Van Gogh

This ispart of the story published by The Guardian of the tracknig down of a ‘lost’ painting by Van Gogh, a variation on the main theme of sunflowers:

“One day in Arles in August 1888, Van Gogh was planning to paint from life. But the models he had hired failed to show up, and a harsh, hot mistral was blowing, making conditions for painting outdoors unbearable.
So he improvised: he took bunches of Provençal sunflowers, then at their golden-blooming best, and arranged them in locally made, half-glazed earthenware pots. He started work on Monday morning and by Saturday he had made four sunflower pictures.
Two of these are now among the most beloved, celebrated and valuable paintings in the world: they hang in Munich and in the National Gallery, London. Two are lost to public view – one was destroyed in an American bombing raid on Japan during the second world war, the other vanished into private hands after it was exhibited in Ohio in 1948.
Now fresh details have emerged about the lost paintings. The Van Gogh expert Martin Bailey has tracked down a previously unknown 1920s print of Six Sunflowers – the work that was destroyed – so that for the first time since the war it can been seen in its original bright, vibrant colours, and with a hitherto unseen original frame that Van Gogh painted to complement the colours of the subject.
In addition, Bailey has tracked the “missing” painting, charting its progress through private hands after the war to being sold in the 1990s to a “very discreet, private collector” who owns a handful of Van Goghs.
Bailey, who publishes his research this week in a new book, The Sunflowers Are Mine, found the 1920s image of Six Sunflowers in a small museum in Japan, tucked away in a portfolio of Cézanne prints.”

Read more here.

Van Gogh: Six Sunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas.

It’s a happy day for Christie’s: Miró and Moore break records

It’s a happy day for Christie’s, for they managed to sell a Joan Miró for a record price, and so they did with a Henry Moore sculpture.

Joan Miró’s ‘le corps de ma brune’ sold for $ 26.6 million. The 1925 painting is part free-form painting and part poetry, in a way reminiscent of Dadaism and influenced by surrealism.

Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Figure: Festival’ is an abstract cast bronze statue of a reclining woman, one of the masterpieces by the British artist. It sold for $ 30 million.

Moreover, three paintings from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor were sold for $ 22 million: a Van Gogh landscape, another by Pissarro, and a Degas self-portrait.

Tomorrow marks the last day in Christie’s ‘Art of the Surreal’ and ‘Impressinist and Modern Art’ auction nights (7 – 9 February 2012).