Van Gogh The painter of the future Vincent became known for his intense color contrasts. He hoped his colorful work would contribute to the modernization of art. After Vincent left Paris, he took his intense color contrasts even further.
It was now that he created many of the paintings for which he became so famous. Van Gogh predicted in 1888 that ‘… the painter of the future is a colourist such as there has not been before.’………….
Vincent saw the light in Paris
Having moved to Paris, Vincent went to see a ceiling mural by Eugène Delacroix in the Louvre. It was a revelation: now he knew how bright colors could work together.
Modern art in Paris encouraged Vincent to adopt a lighter, brighter and looser painting style, like that of the Impressionists. He also fell under the spell of the ‘Pointillists’ (originally a term of abuse) who painted with colorful dots.
Vincent produced one color study after another. Which color combinations create the most powerful effect? How many are there a single color? Color had now become an obsession for him. He used colored different combinations before trying them out with his paints. He kept his little balls of wool in this box.
Looking for contrast
Vincent’s palette was not always so bright and vivid. Read about his quest, in which his colors changed from dark to bright.
READ THE STORY
When you think of Vincent van Gogh, you think of bright, intense colors. Yet his palette was not always so vivid. If we compare Vincent’s first lifes with his later masterpieces, we see a long quest, in which his colors changed from dark to bright.
Vincent took painting lessons with the artist Anton Mauve in The Hague. Mauve works mainly in gray and blue tones. Most Dutch artists painted ‘tonally’ at this time. This was the child of work Vincent saw around him, so that’s how he began to paint too.
Study of colors
Vincent wanted to know more about how colors work. He studied lots of books on color theory, from which he learned complementary colors – red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange – intensify one another.
Vincent understood the theoretical principles behind these color pairs. But the illustrations in his textbooks were mostly in black and white: how was it supposed to apply the principles in practice?