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  • Vincent van Gogh
    Mar 30, 1853 – Jul 29, 1890
  • Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg - Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, and died largely unknown, at the age of 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His fame grew in the years after his death
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Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg
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  • Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg

  • Vincent van Gogh
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  • 1886
    Oil on canvas
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, United States.

    Vincent van Gogh's Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg was painted shortly after the artist moved to Paris in March, 1886. Van Gogh's first months in Paris were significant given his exposure to drastically new approaches to art. Van Gogh would meet, among others, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Van Gogh would also be greatly influenced by two pivotal exhibitions he saw shortly before painting the Jardin du Luxembourg work. On 15 May 1886 Van Gogh attended the eighth and final impressionist exhibition which included works by Edgar Degas, Armand Guillaumin and Camille Pissarro. Then in June he visited the fifth "Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture" where he saw works by Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet.

    One of the best ways to gain insights into Van Gogh's development as an artist is through his letters, particularly those letters to his brother Theo. Van Gogh's correspondence often delves into his aspirations in terms of his work, at times focusing on the execution of specific paintings. It's ironic that Van Gogh's Paris period is arguably the most important in terms of his evolving skills as an artist, but Van Gogh's letters (and, correspondingly, our understanding of his thoughts and aspirations) dwindled to all but a trickle during this time. Vincent was living with Theo in Paris and, as a result, there was no need for an exchange of letters. We're left to draw our own conclusions as to Van Gogh's emerging style--from the muted and somber browns and grays of the chilly Brabant countryside to the vibrant colours of his awakening palette.

    While in Paris Van Gogh envisioned a type of artists' collective in which various painters would support each other and share in the profits from sales. Van Gogh coined the term "Petit Boulevard" for this collective, an idea that he would continue with his ill-fated "Studio of the South" initiative with Paul Gauguin in the south of France. While neither of these well intentioned concepts ever properly came to fruition, there's no denying that the influence of the artists surrounding him would have a profound effect on Van Gogh's style. This is clearly seen in the light and colourful composition of Lane at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Other paintings by Vincent van Gogh:

Wheat Field with Cypresses at the Haude Galline near Eygalieres
Wheat Field with Cypresses at the Haude Galline near Eygalieres
Starry Night Over the Rhone
Starry Night Over the Rhone
The Little Stream
The Little Stream
Vincent Van GoghThe brilliant color and exuberant vitality of Dutch Post-Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh's paintings stand in stark contrast to his tragic, turbulent life. In 1880, after a series of failed careers, Van Gogh decided to become an artist. Lacking the resources for formal training, he acquired the necessary skills by sketching from books and prints. The artist's earliest works were scenes of peasant life, inspired by Breton and Millet. In 1886, Van Gogh traveled to Paris where he encountered the works of the Impressionists and the fashionable Japanese prints that were immensely popular in Parisian avant-garde circle.

The artist's Paris experience marked a dramatic transformation in his style and the beginning of an extremely productive period. Canvases from this period reflect a radical shift from the somber – paletted realism of his early works to vibrant expressionism. Inspired by the beauty of the area's rural landscapes, Van Gogh moved to Arles in 1888. The move coincided with the onset of the artist's struggle with mental illness and, after one particularly severe episode, he committed himself to an asylum at Saint Remy. While hospitalized Van Gogh continued to paint and it was here that one of his most compelling works, "The Starry Night" was completed.

The artist produced over one thousand works during the ten short years he devoted to painting. He sold only one painting prior to his tragic death, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.