The great Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh he had a minimal group of people he connected with during his life. Before his unfortunate admission to the Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, and his eventual suicide, he intended to broaden his artistic techniques by painting those that most influenced him. Sold for $58 million in 1989, an inflation-adjusted value of $101.7 million, this portrait was painted precisely 100 years before the sale and is one of six Van Gogh paintings of his close friend Roulin, that he was a postman in Arles. France. Currently a part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this painting remains one of the most expensive paintings ever sold. What is the story behind Van Gogh’s Portrait of Joseph Roulin? Is it one of the most valuable paintings ever painted by Van Gogh?
The artist and his best friend.
It is common knowledge that artists are, if not, more emotional than others and tend to paint images that move them emotionally. However, some paint what the world would like them to paint just to make a living from it. van gogh he always painted what was close to his heart. Even during his period of psychosis, he painted the night sky and flowers in the asylum, which helped him connect with the nature around him and gave him hope. Van Gogh decided to paint more than 20 portraits of his friend Joseph Roulin and his family. Joseph was a postal employer in the city of Arles in the south of France. Van Gogh met him at a shallow moment in his life. He had recently moved to Arles with the hope of creating an artists’ cooperative there; however, the plan never came to fruition and he felt very lonely and isolated. It was then that he found solace and companionship in the Roulin family and began painting them extensively. He first painted Roulin in the summer of 1888. He would soon begin painting all of his family, including his wife and his three children. He wanted to do what he called ‘modern portraits’.
In a letter to his brother Theo, he wrote that he wants to do “an image that expresses character not by imitating the sitter’s appearance, but through the vivid and independent life of color.” His artist friend Paul Gauguin helped influence him in making modern portraits. He urged relying less on observation and more trust in memory. And then in the wildly infamous incident where Van Gogh cut off his ear after arguing with Gaugin, it was Roulin who attended to Van Gogh and saw that he was admitted to the Arles psychiatric hospital. He even cared for him during his treatment there, writing to his family to reassure them of his health and providing constant comfort to the recovering artist. As Van Gogh struggled to regain his mental stability, Roulin’s friendship and support became even more crucial to him.
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Why is this portrait so famous?
The more than twenty portraits van gogh The paintings of Roulin and his family were very unique, like any of his other works. He used bold, thick colors in the paintings and this changed the way many artists view portraiture. In this portrait, Roulin is shown in the uniform he always wore with such pride, against a background of swirling flowers. This is another reason why this portrait is considered so modern and relevant. According to van gogh “Modern portraiture” was what excited him the most and he wanted to “paint men and women with that something eternal that the halo used to have. Van Gogh was fascinated by Roulin’s face and that is the main focus of the painting. This painting, which van Gogh boasted of having completed in a single sitting, was painted after Roulin had obtained a better-paying job and left Arles. Some art scholars think that this portrait was not painted from life but from memory or previous paintings, which makes this work even more impressive. Another reason this portrait is so popular is that it has few elements of Japanese art, which was booming at the time. The paintings of the postman Joseph Roulin reflected Van Gogh’s deep interest in Japanese prints. Van Gogh discovered Japanese art in magazine illustrations of artworks created with woodblock prints using Japanese techniques depicting Japanese life. In 1885, Van Gogh began collecting ukiyo-e prints that he bought in small Parisian shops. He shared these prints with his contemporaries and organized an exhibition of Japanese prints in Paris in 1887. It is clear that when he chose to paint this portrait in 1889, he reflected the vibrancy of color and light seen in woodcuts. Japanese.
Now known as one of the most expensive paintings in the world, this portrait by Joseph Roulin is considered a symbol of friendship and hope. Although Van Gogh lived as a poor man who was not recognized for his art and failed to sell more than one painting in his life, he died with the most valuable thing in the world: a good friend named Joseph Roulin.
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