Two Cut Sunflowers – on blue background (exchanged to Gauguin)

Two Cut Sunflowers – on blue background (exchanged to Gauguin)

"If you come on my behalf you will find at Cluzel's, the framer in rue Fontaine, a painting that I have delivered for you. If you do not consider it suitable, let me know, and come and choose yourself." Paul Gaugin to Vincent in December of 1887 (in this exchange, Vincent delivered this and another painting of sunflowers gone to seed and Gaugin delivered "On the Shore of the Lake, Martinique)
Details:
Painting Date
31st of August 1887
Detailed Image Links
Description:

If you come on my behalf you will find at Cluzel’s, the framer in rue Fontaine, a painting that I have delivered for you. If you do not consider it suitable, let me know, and come and choose yourself.”  Paul Gauguin to Vincent in December of 1887      (in this exchange, Vincent delivered this and another painting of sunflowers gone to seed and Gauguin delivered “On the Shore of the Lake, Martinique”)

Gauguin saw something special in these first renditions of sunflowers created in Paris by Vincent in the summer in 1887.  In an exchange of paintings, Gauguin sought two of these and hung them above his bed when he lived in Paris on Rue Boulard with Emile Schuffenecker, a friend and fellow post impressionist painter and collector.  Later, when Vincent paints his famous series in Arles in anticipation of Gauguin’s arrival, he creates one of his most popular masterpieces in yellow hues.  In less than a year after these early and brilliant studies in Paris, both Vincent and Gauguin see clearly that Vincent has a special bond with the sunflower and it is “his” in the world of painting, a great source of pride for him.

In this early depiction, Vincent has chosen a dark cobalt and blue background to frame cut sunflowers in yellow as they curl and dry.  He is also beginning to use a radiating thick stroke that almost halos the subject in light background strokes which create energy and emotion in the artist’s depiction.  The yellows and oranges of the nearly flaming curling leaf ends contrast brilliantly against the chosen blues and draw us toward the center of the left flower and the dark brown seeds meticulously planted in tiny dabs and dashes.  Japanese influenced cloissonist lines between the contrasts brighten the color beds they separate and lend harmony to clash of color.  Vincent has begun to groove his own path of brush stroke and color combinations beyond what he has absorbed and synthesized from the impressionist, pointillist and japanese influences so vibrant in Paris during the 15 months he had lived there when he painted Two Cut Sunflowers.  He is beginning to tire of the city and is feeling the urge to move to the south of france where colors might be brighter and he can better explore the compliments and contrasts of color he innately understands so well.

This painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city:   “Van Gogh painted four still lifes of sunflowers in Paris in late summer 1887. There is an oil sketch for this picture (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) as well as another painting of two sunflowers also signed and dated 1887 (Kunstmuseum Bern), and a larger canvas showing four sunflower heads (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo). Paul Gauguin acquired the two smaller works, and until the mid-1890s, when he sold his most prized possessions to finance his South Seas voyage, they held pride of place above the bed in his Paris apartment.”

Provenance:

Paul Gauguin, Paris (1887/88–96; acquired late 1887 or early 1888 from the artist by exchange; consigned to Vollard in 1895–96; sold on April 10, 1896, for Fr 225 through Georges Chaudet to Vollard);

[Ambroise Vollard, Paris, from 1896; sold on either September 1, 1897, May 17, 1899, or July 12, 1899, to Hoogendijk]; Cornelis Hoogendijk, The Hague (1897 or 1899–d. 1911; his estate sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, May 21, 1912, no. 31);

Alphonse Kann, Paris (until 1917; sold on December 19, 1917, for Fr 32,000 through Carl Montag to Bühler); E. Richard Bühler, Winterthur, Switzerland (1917–47; half share sold on October 1, 1928 to Thannhauser, stock no. 1002; in exchange for half share in a Daumier painting, remaining half share transferred in 1947 to Thannhauser);

[Justin K. Thannhauser, Lucerne, Paris, and New York, 1928–49; from 1947, half share with Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, stock no. 1031; sold by Thannhauser, New York in 1949 to MMA]

 

 

 

Painting, Oil on Canvas
Paris: August – September, 1887
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York, United States of America, North America
F: 375, JH: 1329

Where Vincent Was:
Paris

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