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Red Vineyards at Arles

Painting, November 1888, 73×91 cm
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Description of the artwork «Red Vineyards at Arles»

For a long time, Red Vineyards at Arles, painted in the autumn of 1888, was believed to be the only work of van Gogh sold during the artist's lifetime. However, over the past few years, some documentary evidence has been found which proves that Vincent was not so unfortunate and unrecognized as he is usually portrayed.

According to the Van Gogh Museum official website, the artist's first commission came from his uncle Cor. Wanting to help his nephew's career, he ordered 19 cityscapes of The Hague. Though it can hardly be called a good bargain, van Gogh would often trade his paintings and drawings for food or art supplies. Besides, the artist sold several works to Père Tanguy - a great connoisseur of art who owned a small artist's supply shop in Paris. Later Theo successfully sold another Vincent's work (presumably, a self-portrait) to a gallery in London.

But let us turn to the Red Vineyards. At the time its creation, Van Gogh already lived in Arles not alone but with Paul Gauguin. And in this work, as in many others created during the same period, the influence of the artistic methods of Vincent's "elder comrade" is noticeable. The artist expressed on the canvas all his admiration for autumn's natural colors, when the bright greens are replaced by softer chestnut, red and yellow tones, and managed to catch the reflection of the sunset on the river. Gauguin, by the way, painted his own version of Gathering Grapes at Arles, placing in the foreground the girl, resting from work, and dressing the pickers in traditional Breton costumes.

In 1890, Red Vineyards at Arles was presented to the public at the annual exhibition of Les XX in Brussels. There, Vincent's works, displayed next to the paintings by Cézanne, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Signac, left the conservative critics speechless, but the avant-gardists were delighted. It should be mentioned that at that time the artist's name was already on everyone's lips in Paris thanks to the art critic Albert Aurier who had written an article, full of admiration and praises.

Red Vineyards at Arles was purchased for 400 francs by Belgian Impressionist and collector Anna Boch at the Les XX exhibition. Anna Boch sold Red Vineyards at Arles in 1906, though, for 10,000 francs, and it was sold again that same year to a Moscow collector, Sergei Shchukin. Twelve years later, Shchukin's gallery was nationalized, and in 1948, his collection was randomly divided between the State Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. This is how Red Vineyards appeared here.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Genre scene

Style of art: Post-Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: November 1888

Size: 73×91 cm

Artwork in selections: 59 selections

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