"Van Gogh's Paris: Moves into Montmartre" Paris Off The Beaten Path Tip by Lady_Mystique

Paris Off The Beaten Path: 1,965 reviews and 4,156 photos

  Self Portrait as an Artist ~ van Gogh
by Lady_Mystique

In early 1886, Vincent moved in with his brother Theo in Montmartre.

Theo, who manages the Montmartre branch of Goupil's (now called Boussod, Valadon & Cie), acquaints Vincent with the works of Claude Monet and other Impressionists.
Now Vincent sees for himself how the Impressionists handle light and color, and treat the town and country themes.
He begins to meet the city's modern artists, including Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Camille Pissarro.

Vincent's Paris work is an effort to assimilate the influences around him; his palette becomes brighter, his brushwork more broken.
Like the Impressionists, Vincent takes his subjects from the city's cafés and boulevards, and the open countryside along the Seine River.

Unable to afford models to perfect his skills, Vincent turns to his own image: "I deliberately bought a good mirror so that if I lacked a model I could work from my own likeness." He paints at least 20 self-portraits in Paris.
His experiments in style and color can be read in these self-portraits. The earliest are executed in the grays and browns of his Brabant period; these dark colors soon give way to yellows, reds, greens, and blues, and his brushwork takes on the disconnected stroke of the Impressionists.
To his sister he writes: "My intention is to show that a variety of very different portraits can be made of the same person."
One of the last portraits Vincent paints in Paris, Self-Portrait as an Artist, is a dramatic illustration of his personal and artistic identity.

Vincent regularly paints outdoors in Asnières, a village near Paris where the Impressionists often set up their easels. Later, he writes to his sister Wil: "And when I painted the landscape in Asnières this summer, I saw more colors there than ever before."

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 23, 2006
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