Van Gogh in 1886-1888, from dark to light, Van Gogh Museum

In Paris, Vincent painted portraits of friends and acquaintances, still life paintings, views of Le Moulin de la Galette, scenes in Montmartre, Asnières and along the Seine. In 1885 in Antwerp he had become interested in Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and had used them to decorate the walls of his studio; while in Paris he collected hundreds of them.

Theo was the manager of Goupil art dealers (later Boussod, Valadon & Cie) on the Boulevard Montmartre in Paris. He introduced his brother to the colourful work of prominent modern artists like Claude Monet. Vincent van Gogh also got to know a new generation of artists at Fernand Cormon’s studio, including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Emile Bernard.

After seeing the portrait of Adolphe Monticelli at the Galerie Delareybarette, Van Gogh adopted a brighter palette and a bolder advocate, particularly in paintings such as his Seascape at Saintes-Maries.

All those new impressions and new people had an influence on his own work and inspired him to experiment freely. The dark tones of The Potato Eaters quickly gave way to brighter colours, as in The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry.

Vincent’s work grew steadily brighter in Paris, under the influence of modern art. He used brighter colours and developed his own style of painting, with short brush strokes.

The themes he painted likewise changed, with rural labourers giving way to cafés and boulevards, the countryside along the Seine and floral still lifes. He also tried out more ‘commercial’ subjects, such as portraits. Vincent mostly acted as his own sitter, however, as models were relatively expensive.

He adopted elements of Pointillism, a technique in which a multitude of small coloured dots are applied to the canvas so that when seen from a distance they create an optical blend of hues. The style stresses the ability of complementary colours – including blue and orange – to form vibrant contrasts.

Meanwhile, he discovered a new source of inspiration in Japanese woodcuts, which sold in large quantities in Paris. Vincent and Theo began to collect them. The influence of the bold outlines, cropping and colour contrasts in these prints showed through immediately in his own work.

After two years, Vincent began to tire of the frenetic city life in Paris.

‘It seems to me almost impossible to be able to work in Paris, unless you have a refuge in which to recover and regain your peace of mind and self-composure. Without that, you’d be bound to get utterly numbed.’

He longed for the peace of the countryside, for sun, and for the light and colour of ‘Japanese’ landscapes, which he hoped to find in Provence, in the South of France. Following a train journey that lasted a day and a night, he arrived on 20 February 1888 in Arles, a small town on the River Rhône.

Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum has the largest Van Gogh collection in the world It comprises 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by Vincent van Gogh.The Van Gogh Museum is a museum dedicated to the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, on the Paulus Potterstraat and the Museumplein in Amsterdam, in the Zuid district. The collection of the museum contains more than two hundred paintings, five hundred drawings and seven hundred letters from Vincent van Gogh, as well as his collection of Japanese prints, and the library comprises more than 23,000 works.

The museum is situated at the Museumplein in Amsterdam-Zuid, on the Paulus Potterstraat 7, between the Stedelijk Museum and the Rijksmuseum The museum consists of two buildings, the Rietveld building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, and the Kurokawa wing, designed by Kisho Kurokawa The museum offices are housed on Stadhouderskade 55 in Amsterdam-Zuid.

The Rietveld building is the main structure of the museum and exhibits the permanent collection The building has a rectangular floor plan and is four stories high On the ground floor are a shop, a café, and the introductory part of the art exhibition The first floor shows the works of Van Gogh grouped chronologically The second floor gives information about the restoration of paintings and has a space for minor temporary exhibitions The third floor shows paintings of Van Gogh’s contemporaries in relationship to the work of Van Gogh himself.