Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh painted the beautiful Almond Blossom (1890) as a gift for his nephew Vincent Willem. The painting belongs to a series of blossoming almond trees made between 1888-90. It is easy to retrace van Gogh’s Japanese inspiration in this work. The painting is full of light & joy

I started right away to make a picture for him, (the newborn boy) to hang in his bedroom, big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky

Interest in Japanese art and culture was quite popular in Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Edmond de Goncourt and Emile Zola, two writers that Van Gogh greatly admired, wrote extensively about Japan. Vincent, a devotee of both literature and art, would develop a deep admiration for Japanese culture via both of these media.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    Sigrun, I recently stood in front of this painting for the first time in my life, at a show of Van Gogh’s work in Ottawa. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined, and accompanied by an excerpt from the letter you quote here.Surprisingly to me, the color that has stayed with me when I think of the exhibition now is this extraordinary aqua, which appeared not only in this painting but as the complement to the yellow we associate with Van Gogh in so many other works. Being in the presence of the paintings, rather than reproductions, made his relationship to this blue much clearer to me. I was glad, too, to feel the quiet joy of this and many other paintings; sharing that emotion with the painter just as much as the turbulence we associate with him. Thanks for your post!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you Beth!
      I think it is important to try to understand the complexity both in van Gogh’s work and personality, his love for life and painting often seems to be under-communicated.

      Isn’t strange how works one have seen on print again and again, still can take one by surprise in “real life”?!

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