Vincent van Gogh Paintings from Paris

Vincent van Gogh's Two Cut Sunflowers is an  (17 x 24 inches) that is housed in  in New York. See more pictures of van Gogh's paintings.

Life in Paris placed Vincent van Gogh in the center of the most sophisticated art community in Europe. His brother Theo managed a contemporary art gallery where Vincent was able to see the latest works of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro.

Van Gogh met other aspiring painters such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, and Emile Bernard. Along with his brother, van Gogh visited artists' studios, and in November 1887, they met Paul Gauguin, who showed them the vivid and colorful visions of the tropics he had painted during his recent stay in Martinique.

Van Gogh absorbed all these new influences, intent on finding his own mode of expression. But more than anything, he was determined to comprehend and master color.

In Paris, van Gogh enlivened his palette by painting bouquets of flowers in random combinations to study the range of natural hues. In writing to Theo, van Gogh equated color with vitality. "What color is in a picture," he observed, "enthusiasm is in life."

Van Gogh's time in Paris allowed him to rejuvenate his life and advance his art. His exploration of color transformed the way he painted and confirmed his conviction that his passion for art was the essential force in his life. The following pages take you to the paintings van Gogh completed in Paris.

  • Wheatfield with a Lark: Vincent van Gogh instilled this painting with the sense of spontaneity associated with Impressionism. Learn about Wheatfield with a Lark, which van Gogh painted outside among the fields.
  • A Pair of Shoes: In this still life painting, Vincent van Gogh experimented with color, introducing a deep, rich gold tonality into the somber browns of his palette.
  • Self-Portrait of Vincent van Gogh: Influenced by the Neo-Impressionism approach of artists like Seurat, Vincent van Gogh experimented with pointillism when creating this self-portrait. Learn how van Gogh's unique color combinations heightened the emotional content of the painting.
  • Le Moulin de la Galette: Vincent van Gogh often preferred to paint en plein air -- out of the studio and in natural light. Observe how painting outdoors enriched the color quality in Le Moulin de la Galette.
  • Boulevard de Clichy: Vincent van Gogh again broadened his color palette when creating this painting. Note how van Gogh infuses Boulevard de Clichy with floral hues and jewel tones.
  • Garden with Sunflower: Vincent van Gogh created several studies of sunflowers while living in Paris. Learn how van Gogh used contrasting colors in Garden with Sunflower.
  • Flowers in a Blue Vase: Vincent van Gogh displays a full tonal range of color -- from deep brown to opalescent pinks -- in Flowers in a Blue Vase.
  • Self-Portrait: With its deeply shadowed background, this self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh is reminiscent of Rembrandt. Learn how van Gogh differentiated his series of self-portraits through his use of color.
  • Two Cut Sunflowers: For his experiments with color, Vincent van Gogh often preferred flowers to other subjects. Learn how van Gogh used bold, contrasting colors to explore the full range of yellow in Two Cut Sunflowers.
  • Le Pere Tanguy: Vincent van Gogh painted this Paris art shop proprietor against a backdrop of Japanese prints, which van Gogh collected and admired.

A lone lark soars across the sky in Wheatfield with a Lark. Learn about this Vincent van Gogh painting in the next section.

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Wheatfield with a Lark by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Wheatfield with a Lark is an oil on canvas (21-1/4 x 25-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Wheatfield with a Lark is an oil on canvas (21-1/4 x 25-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh painted Wheatfield with a Lark in the fields outside Asnières in 1887. He portrayed the grain stalks at their fullest summer height, blowing in the wind of an approaching storm.

A lark soars across the still-bright sky. Traditionally, the flight of a lark indicates happiness, but van Gogh may have used the soaring bird to embody the sense of freedom he felt when working outdoors in the countryside.

Vincent van Gogh introduced a deep, rich gold tonality into the somber browns of his palette with his painting A Pair of Shoes. Continue to the next section to learn about this painting.

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A Pair of Shoes by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's A Pair of Shoes is an oil on canvas (14-3/4 x 17-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's A Pair of Shoes is an oil on canvas (14-3/4 x 17-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh painted A Pair of Shoes in 1885. The painting's simple subject -- a pair of worn work boots -- gave van Gogh the opportunity to concentrate on the issues of color and brush stroke.

Van Gogh painted the boots in the dull browns of his Nuenen palette, but he set them against a fresh background of gold. He applied his paint thickly, leaving distinct brush strokes in the foreground and working a crosshatch pattern in the back, giving as much importance to his surface as his subject.

Learn how the Paris art community influenced van Gogh's The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry, the painting in the next section.

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The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry is an oil on canvas (22 x 24-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry is an oil on canvas (22 x 24-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Influenced by the innovations of the Paris art world, Vincent van Gogh painted The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry in 1886.

 Van Gogh made regular visits to exhibitions in Paris and pursued introductions to artists, whom he liked to visit in their studios. This wealth of influence prompted him to experiment, as seen here with his daring introduction of violet and pink in the volatile sky and the square touch of the brush strokes, which conveys the solidity of the rock walls of the quarry.

Learn how Vincent van Gogh experimented with pointillism to create the self-portrait in the next section.

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Self-Portrait of Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait is an oil on artist's board mounted on cradled panel (16-1/4 x 12-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait is an oil on artist's board mounted on cradled panel (16-1/4 x 12-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Inspired by the stylistic innovations of Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh painted this self-portrait in 1887. In this painting, van Gogh experimented with a pointillist brush stroke.

 Van Gogh's use of the color complements red and green illustrates his desire to understand Neo-Impressionism, but his stroke remained emphatically expressive in contrast to the neutral surface effect the optical approach was formulated to achieve. Rather than the cool, intellectual objectives of Seurat's pioneering theories, van Gogh's work suggests emotional turbulence.

Keep reading to observe how painting outdoors enriched the colors of Le Moulin de la Galette.

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Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Le Moulin de la Galette is an oil on canvas (18 x 15 inches) that is housed in the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum.
Vincent van Gogh's Le Moulin de la Galette is an oil on canvas (18 x 15 inches) that is housed in the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum.

Vincent van Gogh completed Le Moulin de la Galette in 1886. Van Gogh created this painting while living with his brother in an apartment in Montmartre on the northern edge of Paris.

 From the apartment it was an easy walk to the outskirts of the city where small cottage farms could be found nestled among the hills. Painting outdoors helped van Gogh explore the effects of natural light, which gave his palette a sun-drenched quality that purged his rural subjects of their characteristic somber tonalities.

The cafe in the next painting, Terrace of a Café on Montmartre (Le Guinguette), has been depicted by many artists. Keep reading to discover what makes van Gogh's interpretation unique.

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Terrace of a Cafe on Montmartre (Le Guinguette) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Terrace of a Café on Montmartre (La Guinguette) is an oil on canvas (19-1/4 x 25-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Vincent van Gogh's Terrace of a Café on Montmartre (La Guinguette) is an oil on canvas (19-1/4 x 25-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Vincent van Gogh painted Terrace of a Café on Montmartre (La Guinguette) in 1886. Usually the setting for a lighthearted scene of leisure, notably in the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the painting's outdoor café takes on a sober note in the low autumn light.

 Van Gogh works in his figures as mere suggestions of form with weighted calligraphic strokes and a dark palette of brown and carmine red. The streak of aqua on the lamppost presents a startling contrast as does the free handling of the trees and volatile sky.

Vincent van Gogh continued his experiments with color in Vegetable Gardens and the Moulin de Blute-Fin on Montmartre. Keep reading to learn about this painting.

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Vegetable Gardens and the Moulin de Blute-Fin on Montmartre by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Vegetable Gardens and the Moulin de Blute-Fin on Montmartre is an oil on canvas (17-3/4 x 32 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Vegetable Gardens and the Moulin de Blute-Fin on Montmartre is an oil on canvas (17-3/4 x 32 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh continued his experiments in color throughout his stay in Paris, completing paintings like his 1887 work Vegetable Gardens and the Moulin de Blute-Fin on Montmartre.

Van Gogh lightened his palette further as he worked outdoors, and he shifted his interest in the interaction of complements from red and green to yellow and blue. In this vista of a cottage farm and its windmill, van Gogh also varied his application of pigment, using a pointillist touch for the fields and a broken brush stroke for the sky.

Continue to the next section to observe the relationship between complementary colors in van Gogh's Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin.

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Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Cafe du Tambourin by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin is an oil on canvas (21-3/4 x 18-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin is an oil on canvas (21-3/4 x 18-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh painted Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin in 1887. The painting's namesake -- Agostina Segatori -- was the proprietor of the Café Tambourin, a cabaret frequented by painters.

Segatori allowed van Gogh to install an exhibition of his Japanese prints in her café, and she posed for him on several occasions. Here, he surrounds her with subtle variations in green with red and aqua highlights. The effect is both decorative and disturbing, due to the chromatic vibrations that result in the pairing of complementary colors. The table is in the form of a tambourine, the namesake of the café.

Vincent van Gogh again broadened his color palette when creating Boulevard de Clichy. Learn about this painting in the next section.

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Boulevard de Clichy by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Boulevard de Clichy is an oil on canvas (18 x 21-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Boulevard de Clichy is an oil on canvas (18 x 21-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

After years of studying flowers, Vincent van Gogh brought brighter hues to his palette with Boulevard de Clichy, which he painted in 1887.

With floral hues such as violet and rose, as well as jewel tones such as turquoise and burnished gold, van Gogh painted the Boulevard de Clichy with unprecedented lightness and freshness. His touch, expressive yet delicate, reveals that he had absorbed the Neo-Impressionist stroke and transformed it to his own advantage.

Vincent van Gogh often preferred to paint outside of the studio. For an example of the effect this had on van Gogh's work, observe Fishing in the Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnieres), the painting in the next section.

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Fishing in the Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnieres) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Fishing in the Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières) is an oil on canvas (19-1/4 x 22-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Vincent van Gogh's Fishing in the Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières) is an oil on canvas (19-1/4 x 22-3/4 inches) that is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Vincent van Gogh completed Fishing in the Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières) in 1887. The painting was created during regular trips to the Paris suburb of Asnières with fellow painters Paul Signac and Emile Bernard.

 Van Gogh and his friends set up their easels in the park and along the riverbanks to catch the natural light. Van Gogh often built his composition up with color, as seen here.

During his time in Paris, Vincent van Gogh created several studies of sunflowers. Keep reading to learn how van Gogh used contrasting colors in Garden with Sunflower.

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Garden with Sunflower by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Garden with Sunflower is an oil on canvas (16-3/4 x 14 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Garden with Sunflower is an oil on canvas (16-3/4 x 14 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh painted Garden with Sunflower in 1887. The painting reflects van Gogh's practice of studying flowers to learn how to paint with intense color.

 In the previous year, van Gogh used a high point of view on Montmartre to paint a panoramic vista of the cultivated fields with their quaint windmills on the surrounding rolling hills to the north or the cityscape to the south. In the summer of 1887, he made several studies of cottage gardens with giant golden sunflowers nodding atop their sturdy stalks and towering above the cottage fences.

Keep reading to observe how Vincent van Gogh displays a full range of color in Flowers in a Blue Vase.

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Flowers in a Blue Vase by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Flowers in a Blue Vase is an oil on canvas (24 x 15 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Flowers in a Blue Vase is an oil on canvas (24 x 15 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The successful results of his experiments in color, Vincent Van Gogh's 1887 piece Flowers in a Blue Vase is a fresh and luminous mixed bouquet.

Bold, yet natural, van Gogh's palette displays a full tonal range from deep brown and violet shadows to pearly whites and opalescent pinks. In his letters to his sister Wil, he listed the colors he had added to his palette: "pink, soft or bright green, light blue, violet, yellow, glorious red."

Continue to the next section to observe the unique color palette of Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait.

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Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait is an oil on canvas (15-3/4 x 13-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait is an oil on canvas (15-3/4 x 13-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.

Throughout the summer of 1887, Vincent van Gogh painted a series of self-portraits. This self-portrait is unique in its color palette.

 Although many of van Gogh's 1887 self-portraits employ a warm, yellow-based palette, here van Gogh modulated his tonalities from the ginger red of his beard and hair, the muddied greens of his jacket, to the stark pale of his complexion. Set against a deeply shadowed background, this portrait recalls the influence of Rembrandt, who also painted his own portrait repeatedly and with great variation.

Vincent van Gogh used a bright palette and complementary tones to create Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnieres. Learn about this painting in the next section.

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Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnieres by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnières is an oil on canvas (29-1/2 x 44-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh's Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnières is an oil on canvas (29-1/2 x 44-1/4 inches) that is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh painted strolling couples in the park with a bright palette and an exuberant touch in his 1887 work Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnières.

The foliage of the trees reflect his study of complementary tones; the sky is feathered with tiny strokes of the palest shades of blue, violet, and green. In a letter to his sister Wil, van Gogh compared the fundamental harmony of chromatic pairs that together "shine brilliantly" to a human couple declaring, the colors "complete each other like a man and woman."

Keep reading to learn how van Gogh used bold, contrasting colors to explore the full range of yellow in Two Cut Sunflowers.

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Two Cut Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Two Cut Sunflowers is an oil on canvas (17 x 24 inches) that is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Vincent van Gogh's Two Cut Sunflowers is an oil on canvas (17 x 24 inches) that is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Two Cut Sunflowers is part of a series of studies of cut sunflowers Vincent van Gogh painted in the summer of 1887.

To contrast with the wide range of the color yellow -- from pale citron to deep ocher -- van Gogh set the flower heads against a complementary background of bright blue. The thick impasto he used to describe the radiant petals and twisted stem evoke the robust vigor of the flower in full growth.

Keep reading to explore our final painting, Le Pere Tanguy, Vincent van Gogh's portrait of a Paris art shop proprietor.

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Le Pere Tanguy by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh's Le Père Tanguy is an oil on canvas (36-1/4 x 29-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Musée Rodin in Paris.
Vincent van Gogh's Le Père Tanguy is an oil on canvas (36-1/4 x 29-1/2 inches) that is housed in the Musée Rodin in Paris.

Vincent van Gogh painted Le Père Tanguy in 1887. Julien Tanguy, known as "Père" or "Papa," sold artists' materials, and Vincent frequented the shop to purchase paint and to visit the informal gallery housed in the back rooms.

Tanguy displayed the work of innovators such as Georges Seurat and Paul Cézanne. He also sold Japanese prints. Van Gogh began collecting works of the ukiyo-e masters in Antwerp, and in honor of their shared interest, he painted Tanguy's portrait in front of a selection of famous prints.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff 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.