John Peter Russell captures the glare of Vincent in this 1886 oil on canvas work in more traditional than impressionist colors. Vincent is known to be a fanatic about color theory and being a decade older than his Parisian classmates at the atelier Cormon school of art, he is lightly regarded and sometimes mocked unknowingly. He is reported by all to be argumentative at minimum and most in his company are taken aback by his forceful nature when he feels strongly about a topic. One of the great natural portrait artists of the time and place, John Russell creates perhaps the most revealing portrait of the fire in the man behind blue green eyes.
Vincent and Theo move into 54 Rue Lepic at the curve before it turns steep uphill to the windmills of Montmartre. Having just moved from Theo’s small apartment by the Chat Noir cabaret and restaurant, the new two bedroom on the third floor above art dealer Portier is spacious. The view of Paris from their fourth floor apartment will be painted several times as Vincent begins to experiment with color and emotion in an impressionist influenced pallette.
The Cormon studio is closed for the summer after an “uprising” of the students choosing to adopt the pointillist or divisions technique of Seurat and his recently shown masterpiece “Sunday afternoon on La Grande Jatte”. Anquetin, acknowledged to be the most gifted in the studio, led the charge and Emile Bernard shocked the master by painting a grey backdrop in lines of red and green because “that is how he saw it”. Cormon objected to these non-traditional forays and the studio was closed for three months during the summer of 1886 in defiance. Toulouse Lautrec, a favored student held a weekly gathering of artists to discuss color and other new theories at his studio in Montmartre or in the cabarets and cafes of the hill above Paris where the Sacre Couer was being built. Lautrec made portraits of Anquetin and the Cabaret Mirliton in Montmartre, Aristide Bruant’s restaurant and night club and gathering spot for Lautrec and his fellow Cormon atelier students. Vincent must have felt a part of an important mutiny and now the mutineers had not a studio but they had their camaraderie and it did not hurt that his brother attempted to sell their artwork when no other dealers would. Vincent was accepted but looked upon as different and from the north in his views and manners by the mostly Parisian group of post-impressionists.
June 1 Theo announces they have moved into a new larger apartment (54, rue Lepic “Vincent has just undergone a dental intervention imponante ÎMrurgie following disorders the stomach / An art broker living downstairs from the brothers on Rue Lepic, Alphonse Portier, took four paintings of Vincent’s on consignment and promises to organize an exhibition of his works in the following year.
June 15-July 15 Fifth International Painting and Sculpture Exhibition at Georges Petit, 8, rue de Sèze (Raffaeli, Renoir, Monet, etc. .). The Japanese Shadows Black Cat Cabaret at the Kazoo.
June 14 Signac arrived in Andelys and painted with Lucien Pissarro (Thorold, p. 4).
20 June Seurat in Honfleur (until August 15).
June 23 A. Bonger wrote to his parents that Theo was terribly sick air and described the new apartment as a great Parisian following criteria. The Van Gogh brothers now have a stove in their service (LT462a).