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Vincent van Gogh Paintings from the Yellow House

The Bedroom is a depiction of Vincent van Gogh's bedroom.

In May 1888, Vincent van Gogh leased four rooms in a two-story building on the Place Lamartine in Arles, France. He called it the Yellow House, after the warm, buttery color of paint on the exterior walls, and he would soon paint a portrait of the house in the tones of yellow that he now regarded as his signature color. Vincent van Gogh planned to cover the interior walls of the Yellow House with paintings of sunflowers.

Throughout his first summer in the Yellow House, Vincent van Gogh keenly anticipated the arrival of Paul Gauguin, who, after many delays and excuses, arrived at Vincent van Gogh's door on October 23, 1888. Eager to work with his new companion, Vincent van Gogh escorted his guest to his favorite locations, but soon their conflicting attitudes toward art led to heated debates. While Vincent van Gogh believed that he needed to work fast, in the open air in front of his subject, Paul Gauguin advocated a slower approach.

In the aftermath of Vincent van Gogh's self-mutilation and Paul Gauguin's hasty departure from Arles, Vincent van Gogh became convinced that if he could return to his painting he could also regain his stability and his health. On January 4, 1889, Vincent van Gogh left the hospital and returned to the Yellow House, where he painted simple still lifes, self-portraits, and copies of his own sunflower bouquets. Through these familiar images, Vincent van Gogh reflected on his brief but life-changing encounter with Paul Gauguin.

Below you will find links to more detailed pages about some of Vincent van Gogh's most famous paintings from his time at the Yellow House. Follow them to learn more about Vincent van Gogh.

The Yellow House: The Yellow House, by Vincent van Gogh, depicts the home where van Gogh lived while in Arles. Learn about The Yellow House, which was painted in 1888.

Les Alyscamps: In Les Alyscamps, by Vincent van Gogh, the post-Impressionist explores the theme of companionship. Read about van Gogh's Les Alyscamps, which is notable for its poignancy.

Van Gogh's Chair: Van Gogh's Chair, by Vincent van Gogh, was one of two portraits van Gogh painted to depict his relationship with Paul Gauguin. Learn about Van Gogh's Chair, a rather unusual "portrait."

Gauguin's Chair: Vincent van Gogh's Gauguin's Chair is the companion piece to Van Gogh's Chair. Learn about van Gogh's 1888 work, Gauguin's Chair.

Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers: In Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, Vincent van Gogh depicts the flowers that would soon become associated with his name. Read about Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers.

Sunflowers: Sunflowers, by Vincent van Gogh, finds the artist continuing his interest in depicting the bright yellow flowers. Read about Sunflowers, which van Gogh considered his best work.

Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze): Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze), by Vincent van Gogh, was completed just prior to Paul Gauguin's arrival in Arles. Learn about Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze), which shows van Gogh's view of Gauguin as a mentor.

The Bedroom: The Bedroom, by Vincent van Gogh, depicts van Gogh's bedroom at the Yellow House in Arles. Read about The Bedroom.

Tarascon Dilegence: Vincent van Gogh's interest in intense and expressive use of color is apparent in Tarascon Dilegence. Learn about Tarascon Dilegence, which Vincent van Gogh painted as he waited for Paul Gauguin to visit him in Arles.

Les Alyscamps: Les Alyscamps, by Vincent van Gogh, is another view of one of van Gogh's favorite locales in southern France. Read about Les Alyscamps, which evidences the emotional energy in van Gogh's art.

The Red Vineyard: Vincent van Gogh's The Red Vineyard is one of the paintings the artist completed during Paul Gauguin's stay at the Yellow House. Read about The Red Vineyard, which exhibits Gauguin's influence on Vincent van Gogh's painting.

A Memory of the Garden at Etten: A Memory of the Garden at Etten, by Vincent van Gogh, shows the artist's mother and sister in a garden from his youth. Read about A Memory of the Garden at Etten -- a response by van Gogh to some of Paul Gauguin's suggestions.

The Sower: Vincent van Gogh's The Sower reflects his long-held interest in Japanese prints. Read about The Sower.

L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux: L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux, by Vincent van Gogh, is a portrait of the proprietress of a local café. Read about L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux, which van Gogh completed in less than an hour.

Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle: Vincent van Gogh's 1888 painting of Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle shows van Gogh's strong belief in portraiture as an art form. Read about Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle -- one of several paintings van Gogh made of the Roulin family.

The Dance Hall: The Dance Hall, by Vincent van Gogh, is another example of the influence that Paul Gauguin's ideas had on van Gogh's paintings. Read about Vincent van Gogh's The Dance Hall.

Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax: Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax, by Vincent van Gogh, was one of the first paintings van Gogh completed after his 1888 stay in the hospital. Read about van Gogh's Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax.

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear: Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear depicts the artist after his self-mutilation and subsequent hospital stay in late 1888. Read about this famous self-portrait.

Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers: Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, by Vincent van Gogh, shares its name and subject with a painting from earlier in the year. Read about this painting depicting the flower van Gogh considered his emblem.

Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse): Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse) was envisioned by the artist as the centerpiece for a triptych. Read about this painting created in 1889.

On the next page, we'll look at Vincent van Gogh's portrait of the house he lived in while in Arles.

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The Yellow House by Vincent van Gogh

The Yellow House by Vincent van Gogh, hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
The Yellow House by Vincent van Gogh, hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In Vincent van Gogh's 1888 work The Yellow House, the palette of yellow and blue -- Vincent van Gogh's signature colors -- expressed his deep feelings for his little house and the fellowship of artists that he hoped would gather there.

The exterior of the house was, in fact, painted a yellow that he associated with the pale, fresh hue of butter, but in The Yellow House van Gogh intensified its hue and depicted it against a bright cerulean sky. Vincent van Gogh often commented on the sunny quality of the surrounding square, and the bright yellow tones he used enforce this sensation.

Vincent van Gogh often depicted places close to his heart. Next, we'll look at a painting of one of Vincent van Gogh's favorite places.

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Les Alyscamps by Vincent van Gogh

Les Alyscamps by Vincent van Gogh, is part of the Collection of Basil P. and Elise Goulandris, Lausanne.
Les Alyscamps by Vincent van Gogh, is part of the Collection of Basil P. and Elise Goulandris, Lausanne.

Les Alyscamps by Vincent van Gogh was completed in 1888, and shows a view down the Allee des Tombeaux, the poplar-flanked path between rows of ancient sarcophagi, in which Vincent van Gogh portrayed two lovers taking a stroll. The woman in Les Alyscamps wears the distinctive local costume, while the man's uniform identifies him as a Zouave whose regiment was temporarily billeted in Arles. This adds a poignant note to Vincent van Gogh's's favorite motif of companionship. Soon the soldier would move on, and the relationship would end.

In October of 1888, Paul Gauguin arrived at the Yellow House as a guest of Vincent van Gogh. On the next page we'll see an unusual portrait that van Gogh painted during this time.

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Van Gogh's Chair by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's Chair inches) the National Gallery, London.
Van Gogh's Chair inches) the National Gallery, London.

In 1888 Vincent van Gogh painted Van Gogh's Chair as one of two unusual portraits depicting himself and his friend Paul Gauguin. For his own portrait, van Gogh used one of the twelve simple chairs he had purchased when he furnished the Yellow House. His pipe and a pouch of tobacco on the rush seat and the box of onions that bears his name serve as rustic attributes that contrast to the more elegant items he chose to represent Paul Gauguin. The predominant hue in Van Gogh's Chair is yellow, which van Gogh now regarded as his signature color.

On the next page you'll see the companion piece to this "portrait."

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Gauguin's Chair by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Gauguin's Chair (oil on canvas, 35-3/4x28-1/2 inches) is part of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Gauguin's Chair (oil on canvas, 35-3/4x28-1/2 inches) is part of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In Gauguin's Chair, Vincent van Gogh addressed his relationship to Paul Gauguin in a painting featuring a solitary chair. To represent Gauguin, he placed the single armchair in the Yellow House on a carpet and placed two naturalist novels and a burning candle on the upholstered seat. Despite their growing difference, Vincent van Gogh's choice of attri­butes in Gauguin's Chair expressed his enduring admiration, and he wrote to his younger brother Theo, "it does me a tremendous amount of good to have such intelligent company."

Keep reading to learn more about how the color yellow figured predominantly in Vincent van Gogh's paintings.

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Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (oil on canvas, 35-3/4x28-1/4 inches) is housed at the Bayerische Staatsgemal- Desammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, Munich.
Vincent van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (oil on canvas, 35-3/4x28-1/4 inches) is housed at the Bayerische Staatsgemal- Desammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

Vincent van Gogh painted Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers in the summer of 1888. In mid-August of that year, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his friend Emile Bernard that he was painting canvases of sunflowers to brighten the walls of his studio. Van Gogh described the vivid colors he was using in Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers -- chrome yellow and royal blue -- and compared the effect to stained-glass windows. The thickly worked paint, which sculpts the flower petals and creates a basket-weave pattern on the table's surface and the curve of the vase, heightens the color effects.

Next, we'll look at another study of Vincent van Gogh's emblematic flowers.

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Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers 36-1/2x28-3/4 inches) Gallery, London.
Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers 36-1/2x28-3/4 inches) Gallery, London.

Sunflowers was completed by Vincent van Gogh in 1888; it was one of a number of paintings to feature sunflowers. But sunflowers were more than a mere decorative scheme for Vincent. As a floral emblem, the sunflower was traditionally associated with worship and constant devotion. To Vincent van Gogh, their vibrant colors and radiant forms represented the vitalizing power of the sun. Van Gogh regarded this painting as his best, and aside from a few touches of green in the stems and the blue contour lines, Vincent van Gogh worked in a restricted palette of yellow, from a pale, sunstruck tone to a ruddy ocher.

Paul Gauguin's visit to the Yellow House took on a great importance for Vincent van Gogh, and this was reflected in his work. On the following page we'll take a closer look at a self-portrait Vincent van Gogh painted around this time.

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Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze) (oil on canvas, 24-1/2x20-1/2 inches) resides at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University in Cambridge.
Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze) (oil on canvas, 24-1/2x20-1/2 inches) resides at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University in Cambridge.

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze) was finished in 1888. This stark self-portrait was painted in anticipation of Paul Gauguin's arrival in Arles, France. Gaunt, with close-clipped hair, van Gogh portrayed himself as a counterpart to a Japanese bonze, a simple follower of the Buddha. Van Gogh hoped that a circle of like-minded artists would gather in Arles, and he envisioned Paul Gauguin as the head of the fellowship. With Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (Bonze), dedicated to the older painter, Vincent van Gogh expressed his intense desire to follow Gauguin's bold direction in art.

Keep reading to see a picture Vincent van Gogh painted of the inside of his famous Yellow House.

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The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's The Bedroom (oil on canvas, 28-1/4x35-1/2 inches) belongs to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's The Bedroom (oil on canvas, 28-1/4x35-1/2 inches) belongs to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In 1888 Vincent van Gogh painted The Bedroom. That same year Van Gogh sent a sketch of this same bedroom to his brother Theo. A letter accompanying the sketch described the contents of the room in detail. While Vincent van Gogh hoped his plans would convince Theo that he was making practical use of the funds he received, he also wanted to convey his progress on a painting of the subject of his room. Vincent van Gogh defined his approach in The Bedroom as simple, intended to give weight and gravity to the subject while evoking the sense of restful sleep.

Besides self-portraits, Vincent van Gogh kept busy painting other subjects while waiting for his friend Paul Gauguin to visit. On the next page, we'll look at an example of this.

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Tarascon Dilegence by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Tarascon Dilegence (oil on canvas, 28-1/4x36-1/4 inches) is owned by the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation in New York.
Vincent van Gogh's Tarascon Dilegence (oil on canvas, 28-1/4x36-1/4 inches) is owned by the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation in New York.

Vincent van Gogh painted Tarascon Dilegence as he waited for Paul Gauguin to come to Arles, France, and he continued his investigation of intense and expressive color. The red panels of this carriage, taken in ensemble with its green cab, represent the chromatic vitality he sought in his painting. But the heavy application of paint -- the sweeping strokes on the ground and the interlocking strokes on the wall -- reveal his deepening immersion in the act of painting on a surface that records every movement of his brush.

Certain subjects and locales drew Vincent van Gogh back again and again. Next, we'll see a second painting of a location van Gogh depicted earlier, Les Alyscamps.

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Les Alyscamps by Vincent van Gogh

Les Alyscamps 36-1/4x29 inches) is part of a private collection.
Les Alyscamps 36-1/4x29 inches) is part of a private collection.

Vincent van Gogh's 1888 work, Les Alyscamps, was completed shortly after Paul Gauguin arrived in Arles, France, when van Gogh took him to his favorite places to paint. They set up their easels together in the ancient cemetery known as Les Alyscamps (Elysian Fields). In contrast to Paul Gauguin's slow and deliberate process, Vincent van Gogh painted quickly, slashing his pigment on the canvas with thick, broad strokes. This difference became a point of contention between the painters; Vincent van Gogh worked in a rush of emotional energy in opposition to Gauguin's cerebral, considered approach.

Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were to paint together often during Gauguin's visit. Continue to the next page to see another painting that emerged during this time.

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The Red Vineyard by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's The Red Vineyard (oil on canvas, 29-1/2x36-1/2 inches) hangs at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Vincent van Gogh's The Red Vineyard (oil on canvas, 29-1/2x36-1/2 inches) hangs at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

Vincent van Gogh painted The Red Vineyard in 1888, some time after Paul Gauguin arrived in Arles, France. As the weeks passed, Gauguin moved his easel out into the fields surrounding Arles, and van Gogh followed. The Red Vineyard combines Vincent's efforts to learn from Gauguin's example with his own enduring interest in color and motif. The bold diagonal axes that sweep across the foreground to meet the high horizon reflect Paul Gauguin's formal approach to composition, but the thickly worked surface illuminated by a yellow sun in a yellow sky mark Vincent van Gogh's own aesthetic concerns.

Next, we'll look at another painting that shows Gauguin's influence on Vincent van Gogh.

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A Memory of the Garden at Etten by Vincent van Gogh

A Memory of the Garden at Etten 29x36-1/2 inches) is housed at the Hermitage in Leningrad.
A Memory of the Garden at Etten 29x36-1/2 inches) is housed at the Hermitage in Leningrad.

In 1888 Vincent van Gogh painted A Memory of the Garden at Etten -- a depiction of a recollection of his mother and his sister walking through a garden in his boyhood village -- in response to Gauguin's advice that he work more from imagination and less from nature. In a letter to his sister Wil, Vincent van Gogh explained that the motifs and the colors carried specific meanings. The "somber violet violently stained by the citron yellow of the dahlias" suggested their mother's personality, whereas the red and green presented Wil as a character out of a Dickens novel.

Vincent van Gogh retained a life-long interest in Japanese art. Next, we'll see a painting that reflects this.

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The Sower by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's The Sower (oil on canvas, 12-1/2x15-3/4 inches) hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's The Sower (oil on canvas, 12-1/2x15-3/4 inches) hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In Vincent van Gogh's 1888 work The Sower, the bright color contrasts and the articulation of the tree trunk mark Vincent's return to the spirit of the Japanese print. The vast, burning sun, painted with concentric impasto strokes, hovers above the head of the sower whose simple yet essential gesture -- casting the seed with his outstretched hand -- embodies the parallel Vincent van Gogh saw between artistic and agricultural endeavor. The germination of ideas seemed as natural and necessary to Vincent as the cultivation of the land.

Keep reading to see one of the most well-known portraits that Vincent van Gogh painted during his time in Arles, France.

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L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux by Vincent van Gogh

L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux (oil on canvas, 36x29 inches), belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of a 1951 bequest from Sam A. Lewisohn.
L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux (oil on canvas, 36x29 inches), belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of a 1951 bequest from Sam A. Lewisohn.

L'Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux, painted by Vincent van Gogh, was completed in 1888. The portrait depicts Marie Ginoux, proprietress of the Café de la Gare on the Place Lamartine, who came to the Yellow House to sit for Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin in early November.

Marie Ginoux wore traditional Arlesienne costume and posed with an umbrella on the table before her. Vincent van Gogh completed one painting during the hour-long session, while Gauguin worked on a drawing. Vincent later made this version of his portrait, replacing the umbrella with a pile of books.

Van Gogh continued to work on portraits throughout the winter of 1888. On the next page, we'll look at another portrait from this time.

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Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle (oil on canvas, 36-1/4x29 inches) hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle (oil on canvas, 36-1/4x29 inches) hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle was painted in the winter of 1888. At the end of November, the bitter north wind and the freezing rain forced Vincent van Gogh to work indoors. Vincent turned his energy to portrait painting, and he convinced his friend Joseph Roulin and his family to sit for him, resulting in Madame Roulin with her Baby Marcelle.

Van Gogh long believed that portraiture was the premier subject of painting, and his repetition of subjects, such as Augustine Roulin holding her youngest child, reveals how he was striving to improve.

Gauguin's stay in Arles, France, proved to be influential on van Gogh's art. Keep reading to learn more about a painting that demonstrates this influence.

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The Dance Hall by Vincent van Gogh

The Dance Hall by Vincent van Gogh, is housed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
The Dance Hall by Vincent van Gogh, is housed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Vincent van Gogh completed The Dance Hall in 1888, while Paul Gauguin was living with him. In a letter to his younger brother Theo, Vincent van Gogh expressed a discomfort at the profound influence Gauguin was having on his art but admitted that he was considering the older painter's advice.

Vincent van Gogh remained profoundly attached to his need for firsthand observation of nature, but in The Dance Hall he demonstrated his ability to assimilate new aesthetic ideas. By employing a sinuous contour line that isolates each hue into a separate cell of color, van Gogh created a flat decorative effect in the synthetic manner favored by Paul Gauguin's young followers.

In late 1888, Vincent van Gogh famously mutilated his own ear. After returning from the hospital, he completed several paintings. On the next page, we'll see one of the works completed during that time.

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Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax by Vincent van Gogh

Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax by Vincent van Gogh, hangs in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo in the Netherlands.
Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax by Vincent van Gogh, hangs in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo in the Netherlands.

Vincent van Gogh's Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax was painted in 1888, shortly after van Gogh returned to the Yellow House following a two-week stay in the hospital. Weak from loss of blood and shaken from what he called his "artist's fit," van Gogh immediately set to painting, as if to prove to himself and others that he would recover his mental, as well as his physical, health through work.

Van Gogh began as if reviewing his skills, with a few still-life compositions, such as Still Life: Drawing Board, Pipe, Onions and Sealing Wax, using the symbols from his chair portrait, Van Gogh's Chair, to reaffirm his identity.

Keep reading to find out about a self-portrait Vincent van Gogh made at this time.

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Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (oil on canvas, 23-1/2x19-1/4 inches) is part of the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London.
Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (oil on canvas, 23-1/2x19-1/4 inches) is part of the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London.

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear is one of two self-portraits van Gogh painted while recovering from his self-inflicted wound. He was bundled up in a heavy winter coat and large fur hat, but he did not attempt to hide the heavy dressing on his ear.

Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo that his seizure and its aftermath ended his dream of organizing an artists' community in Arles, France. He asked why he had not heard from Paul Gauguin: "Have I scared him?"

As Van Gogh rehabilitated, he returned to common themes, such as sunflowers. Read on to learn about another sunflower painting.

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Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers 36-1/4x28-1/2 inches), can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers 36-1/4x28-1/2 inches), can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In his 1888 work titled Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, Vincent van Gogh used his own paintings as models when he resumed his work after his self-mutilation. Van Gogh's sunflower still lifes became a source of consolation as well as inspiration.

He urged his brother Theo to send Paul Gauguin one of the paintings, remarking that his former housemate always liked them. In the sunflower, Vincent van Gogh forged his own emblem, and he reflected that just as other artists were linked with specific flowers, "the sunflower is mine in a way."

Van Gogh anticipated using his sunflower paintings in various ways, including as the flanking pieces to a triptych containing a portrait of the local postman's wife. Next, we'll take a detailed look at the portrait that was meant to be the centerpiece.

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Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin Rocking the                              Cradle (La Berceuse) (oil on canvas, 36-1/2x28-3/4                                            inches) is part of the Helen Birch Bartlett Collection                                            at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Vincent van Gogh's Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse) (oil on canvas, 36-1/2x28-3/4 inches) is part of the Helen Birch Bartlett Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Vincent van Gogh painted Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse) in 1889, shortly after he found a nearly finished portrait of the postman's wife in his studio. Seated in the armchair, holding a rope that was attached to her infant's cradle, Vincent van Gogh regarded Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse) as soothing, a "lullaby in colors."

In the form of the caring mother, Vincent saw the embodiment of consolation, and he imagined La Berceuse (The Lullaby) presented as a triptych with a sunflower still life on either side.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff, Ph.D., is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American painting, including Publication International, Ltd.'s, Monet and Impressionism. Other titles include Sunflowers, Monet's Garden in Art, Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers, and Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives. Ms. Mancoff is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.