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The Starry Night - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night

Today the response The Starry Night provokes is based in part upon its celebrity, but also on its universality. Throughout the ages people have been drawn to the night sky, to its stillness, sublimity, and infinitude, which together evoke in us emotions of peace and humility.

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Portrait of Joseph Roulin - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Portrait of Joseph Roulin

This portrait of Joseph Roulin is one of six that van Gogh painted of his close friend, a postal employee in the southern French town of Arles. In 1888, van Gogh moved to Arles, a fifteen-hour train ride from Paris, in the hopes of creating an artist cooperative.

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Wheat Field with Cypresses - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Wheat Field with Cypresses

Van Gogh regarded this sun-drenched landscape as one of his "best" summer canvases and repeated the composition three times: in a reed pen drawing (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and in two oil paintings made later that fall.

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Les Vessenots à Auvers - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Les Vessenots à Auvers

This landscape of Les Vessenots, on the outskirts of Auvers, shows a group of old country cottages placed just below a raised horizon; further down, wheat fields stretch to the bottom of the canvas, broken only by a few swaying trees.

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Along the Seine - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Along the Seine

This view of the Seine river was also made outside. Quite untypically, van Gogh did not complete this work. The pencil lines with which he sketched the composition before he started painting are still clearly visible at the level of the shore on the far bank.

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Farmhouse in a wheat field - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Farmhouse in a wheat field

He painted this simple farmhouse in a cornfield there and then, partly in thick brushstrokes and partly using little stipples. Van Gogh made a sketch of this landscape in a letter to his brother Theo. (12 May 1888)

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Basket of pansies on a small table - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Basket of pansies on a small table

Van Gogh began painting still life's of flowers after moving to Paris in 1886. Here he depicts a basket of pansies on a stool with a seat in the shape of a tambourine. The stool was from the café Le Tambourin.

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Garden in Montmartre with lovers - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Garden in Montmartre with lovers

This sun-drenched view of a park is one of the largest canvases van Gogh ever produced in Paris. It is also an example of the pointillist painting technique. However, rather than the dots used by Pointillists, van Gogh instead employed loose little paint stripes.

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Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige) - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige)

Compared with the colors in the original woodcut by Japanese artist Hiroshige, which was the inspiration for this work, the colors of van Gogh's The bridge in the rain are somewhat muted. He reproduced the falling rain by using long vertical touches in dark blue applied with brush.

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Café table with absinth - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Café table with absinth

In the 19th century, absinth was a popular drink with many, including artists like van Gogh. This still life shows a solitary glass of absinth on a café table and a bottle of water. Van Gogh combines this with a view through the window.

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Field with flowers near Arles - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Field with flowers near Arles

Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo about this painting in 1888: A meadow full of very yellow buttercups, a ditch with iris plants with green leaves, with purple flowers, the town in the background, some grey willow trees, a strip of blue sky.

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Fishing boats on the beach at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing boats on the beach at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

At the end of May 1888, van Gogh left Arles for a week to visit the coastal town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. He was fascinated by the colors of the Mediterranean and by the little green, red, blue boats, so pretty in shape and color that one thought of flowers.

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Flowering plum tree (after Hiroshige) - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Flowering plum tree (after Hiroshige)

Van Gogh made this painting after a Japanese print by Hiroshige from the extensive collection he shared with his brother. He closely followed the composition of Hiroshige, but did not stick to the exact colors of the original. The frame were derived from a Japanese example.

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Gauguin's chair - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Gauguin's chair

Van Gogh painted this chair as a kind of portrait of his colleague Paul Gauguin during the time he stayed with him in Arles in the south of France. He later wrote: 'It is a study of his armchair of dark, red-brown wood, the seat of greenish straw, and in the absent person's place.

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In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le tambourin - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le tambourin

The Naples-born Agostina Segatori owned the café Le Tambourin on the Boulevard de Clichy in Paris. Van Gogh had a brief relationship with her. On the wall to the right is a Japanese print of two geisha girls.

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La Berceuse (Portrait of Madame Roulin) - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

La Berceuse (Portrait of Madame Roulin)

This is a portrait of Madame Roulin, the wife of the postman in Arles, with whom van Gogh was friends. She is holding a cord, with which she can rock a cradle that we cannot see. In this painting, van Gogh wanted to summon up a lullaby and thereby evoke the idea of comfort.

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Montmartre: behind the Moulin de la Galette - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Montmartre: behind the Moulin de la Galette

Van Gogh painted this large landscape near his home on the hill of Montmartre. The north side of the hill was dotted with vegetable gardens. Van Gogh painted with quick, loose brushstrokes, revealing the influence of (Neo)- Impressionism.

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Montmartre: mills and vegetable gardens - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Montmartre: mills and vegetable gardens

Van Gogh painted the foreground of this view of Montmartre with a fine brush, while the sky in the background he produced with broad brushstrokes. It is one of the works he made during his exploratory trips through Montmartre.

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Orchards in blossom, view of Arles - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Orchards in blossom, view of Arles

Van Gogh painted this orchard in full bloom some time after his first breakdown, when he cut off a part of his ear. On being released from the hospital in Arles in early April 1889, he immediately began work on a series of orchards.

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Ploughed fields (The furrows) - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Ploughed fields (The furrows)

During the summer of 1888 van Gogh painted a great many landscapes. This one of ploughed fields he did in September, after harvest. With the thick application of paint, he successfully recreates the clods of earth, which have just been turned over by the farmer and his horses.

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Quinces, lemons, pears and grapes - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Quinces, lemons, pears and grapes

This striking still life is less concerned with depicting fruit than experimenting with different shades of yellow. Van Gogh has even painted the frame yellow and ochre, with brush strokes that bear some resemblance to Japanese characters.

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Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Van Gogh painted this vibrant seascape outdoors. In fast, loose brushstrokes he tried to capture the color of the sea. He described it as 'a color like mackerel, in other words, changing because a second later, its changing reflection has taken on a pink.

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Self-portrait - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait

Van Gogh did this self-portrait with straw hat in the summer of 1887. It is notable for its loose, sketchy style. The painting is highly discoloured, so that the background color has almost completely disappeared. Van Gogh made at least 27 self-portraits during this period.

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Small pear tree in blossom - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Small pear tree in blossom

Van Gogh painted at least 15 vibrantly colored paintings of orchards in blossom. While still working on them, he had the idea to group the canvases into combinations. Gogh wrote: I now also have a small pear tree, vertical, also flanked by two other horizontal canvases.

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Sunflowers - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Sunflowers

Van Gogh produced in total five versions of bouquets of sunflowers in vases, all subtly different from each other. He made these floral still lifes to decorate the so-called Yellow House in Arles, where initially he had his studio but would later live.

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The Langlois bridge - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The Langlois bridge

The bridge at Langlois, near Arles, exerted an extraordinary attraction on van Gogh. He painted it several times. In this work, he employs the conspicuous diagonal and contours with which he was so familiar from his beloved Japanese prints.

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The bedroom - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The bedroom

While in Arles, van Gogh made this painting of his bedroom, which he had fitted out with simple wooden furniture and his own art on the walls. By use of strong, contrasting colors, van Gogh sought to express particular emotions.

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The harvest - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The harvest

The colors of the southern French countryside in summer dominate this painting: the warm yellowy-gold of the wheat and azure green of the shimmering light. The painting shows the plain of La Crau, outside Arles.

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The hill of Montmartre with stone quarry - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The hill of Montmartre with stone quarry

This is one of the landscapes Vincent van Gogh painted in 1886 after moving to the Montmartre area of Paris. At the time he often went out onto the then still undeveloped side of the hill of Montmartre.

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The pink orchard - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The pink orchard

In the spring of 1888, van Gogh wrote: I'm in a fury of work as the trees are in blossom and I wanted to do a Provence orchard of tremendous gaiety. (See letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, 3 April 1888)

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The pink peach tree - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The pink peach tree

This painting of pink peach trees in bloom was originally intended as part of a triptych. Van Gogh had wanted to organise the series of orchards he painted in the spring of 1888 into groups of three. The painting was originally pink, but the paint has has turned white.

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The white orchard - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

The white orchard

Van Gogh hoped his paintings of orchards in bloom would sell well because they would appeal to many people. He experimented with his painting technique by sometimes using thick, rough brushstrokes, or even by leaving areas.

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Three books - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Three books

The titles of the books in this painting can, with a little difficulty, be read: 'Braves gens' by Jean Richepin, 'Au bonheur des dames' by Emile Zola and 'La fille Elisa' by Edmond de Goncourt, all three contemporary French novels. Van Gogh, a passionate reader.

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Vase with gladioli and China asters - Painting by Vincent van Gogh

Vase with gladioli and China asters

In Paris in 1886, Vincent van Gogh produced a great many still lifes of flowers, including this one of gladioli and asters. He had painted mainly in darker shades, but this new subject gave him the chance to experiment freely with bright colors and looser brushstrokes.

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