1 - Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): Vincent's Chair with His

6/13/2021, 10:04:09 AM
1 - Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): Vincent's Chair with His Pipe, December 1888, Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm, National Gallery, London . . . . 2 - Vincent Van Gogh: Gauguin's Chair, 1888, Oil on canvas, 91 x 72 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam . . . . .. In 1883 van Gogh told his brother of a story he had read about the English novelist Charles Dickens and the illustrator Luke Fildes. When Dickens died Fildes made a drawing which was reproduced in The Graphic, an illustrated periodical whose engravings Van Gogh collected. The drawing showed Dickens's workroom and now empty chair. Van Gogh explained to his brother what this image signified for him. He saw it as a symbol of the loss, through death, of the great pioneers of literature and graphic illustration. It was mainly their artistic community and shared endeavours that provided Van Gogh with a model for his own dream of a new co-operative society of artists, based on the Studio of the South, which had been initiated by Gauguin's arrival in Arles. During one of Arles’s many periods of bad weather, in early December 1888 van Gogh produced very quickly a pair of pendant paintings of chairs, Gauguin's and his own. As an inspiration, beside the print of the depiction of Charles Dickens’s study, he had long had a strong feeling about the emotional resonance of furniture as well. These pictures are not just still-lifes, however much the iconography is reminiscent of the allegorical use of motifs in seventeenth-century Dutch still-life. The flame of a candle, for instance, is a commonplace in these, symbolizing light and life. But these paintings are also oblique portraits. Gauguin's chair is reddish brown and green, lit by a gas lamp and a candle during the evening hours, with gentle curves and two contemporary French novels, recognizable from the colour of their covers, resting on its comfortable surface. On the rough surface of his own chair, coloured in yellow and blue, simple and rustic, lit by the sun, he has placed a pipe and a tobacco pouch, and in the background there are sprouting onions. Gauguin's Chair is a night scene; his own,a daylight scene.

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