Vase with Hollyhocks

Vase with Hollyhocks

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Painting Date
1st of September 1886
Detailed Image Link

Vincent paints flowers during fall and winter of 1886 and experiments with color combinations and paint thickness in application.  He is following his passion for Monticelli, a great colorist of the first half of the 19th century who worked in Provence and applying color theories of Chevreul and Henry which are dominating evening discussion in the cabarets and cafes of Montmartre where the artists gather at night.  Vincent will begin a relationship with a cafe manager and model of the impressionists, Agostina Segatori, who runs the Tamborin restaurant.  He will decorate her restaurant with his paintings of flowers to brighten the gray Paris winter of 1887 and 1888.  In this piece, he puts red hollyhocks against a deep green background and then works with different shades of each color.  Background brushstrokes are crosshatched in wider application and the foreground with shaped strokes surrounding the bottom of the vase.  The design on the vase repeats the stalks of the hollyhocks as the eye is drawn upward by the vertical whites to the top buds of the flowers.  Vincent places his signature in the same color as the bloomed hollyhocks at bottom left, an indication he liked the result of his work.

‘Hollyhocks’ (1886) by Vincent van Gogh was also exhibited in the 1933 ‘French Painting of the 19th Century’ exhibition, which was staged with the clear aim of facilitating the unobtrusive evacuation of collections belonging to German Jews. The painting did not return to Germany after the exhibition but was instead sent to Amsterdam, to which the Cassirer art dealership had since moved its premises. Its owner Tilla Durieux lived in Italy. In 1937 Cassirer’s office offered to sell the painting to the Kunsthaus on her behalf, and it was purchased at a price set by her.

Hollyhocks Kunsthaus Zurich

Painting, Oil on Canvas
Paris: August – September, 1886
Kunsthaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland, Europe
F: 235, JH: 1136

Where Vincent Was:

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