Outskirts of Paris

Outskirts of Paris

"And now for what regards what I myself have been doing, I have lacked money for paying models, else I had entirely given myself to figure painting but I have made a series of colour studies in painting simply flowers, red poppies, blue corn flowers and myosotys. White and rose roses, yellow chrysantemums – seeking oppositions of blue with orange, red and green, yellow and violet, seeking the broken and neutral tones to harmonise brutal extremes. Trying to render intense colour and not a grey harmony." To Horace Mann Livens, Paris, September or October 1886
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Details:
Painting Date
1st of October 1886
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“And now for what regards what I myself have been doing, I have lacked money for paying models, else I had entirely given myself to figure painting but I have made a series of colour studies in painting simply flowers, red poppies, blue corn flowers and myosotys. White and rose roses, yellow chrysantemums – seeking oppositions of blue with orange, red and green, yellow and violet, seeking the broken and neutral tones to harmonise brutal extremes.  Trying to render intense colour and not a grey harmony.”

To Horace Mann Livens, Paris, September or October 1886

Vincent and Theo have been living together in Montmartre in the third floor Rue Lepic apartment for about three months when he paints this landscape with windmills in the distance and a figure by a lamppost.  Vincent has studied briefly at the Atelier Cormon and met many of the artists who will define the beginnings of post impressionism.  He has met the young Paul Signac by this time and the two will paint together in Asnieres and Clichy and Gennevilliers, all suburbs of Paris remaining rural at the time but destined for modern development.  Vincent’s depiction of the modern gas lamp on the rural road with a receding path and figures resembling peasants going about their daily routines.

Vincent chooses to put his easel down and look back up toward Montmartre from Clichy.  He paints a scene of over half sky in gray-blue and white with three birds in the distance.  The lamp on the post is centered and all seems to play out from its carefully drafted angles and high position above the horizon.  A couple walk to the right with a windmill’s vanes cutting the skyline in the distance.  The city is coming to rural Montmartre and it is coming to Clichy.  With a more northern palette Vincent captures a gray Paris day with some green fields and patches of grass topped by roofs of red seeking color combinations to evoke the essence of a scene as he sees it.

Horace Mann Livens, to whom Vincent wrote the letter containing the quote about color oppositions, was a fellow artist from Vincents earlier studies at the Antwerp Art academy they attended together.

Painting, Oil on Canvas on Cardboard
Paris: Autumn, 1886
Private collection
F: 264, JH: 1179

Where Vincent Was:
Paris

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