“An admirable demolisher of academic formulae, [who] also had a genius for light…” – August Rodin
Everyone has a favorite Van Gogh painting. His luscious Haystacks and Sunflowers, his Starry Nights, his Cafes at Night are familiar destinations of unique beauty and joy our souls meander to when they seek an escape from reality. Self taught, Vincent van Gogh invented his own palettes, painting technique and his own visual language. This 1887 Portrait of Pere Tanguy is a supremely beautiful manifestation of all of van Gogh’s inventions. A palette of primary (red, yellow and blue) and binary colors (colors achieved by mixing two primary colors) and soft, systematically aligned brush strokes make this painting vibrate, allowing us to explore every element in the composition with equal passion and intensity.
Van Gogh’s two earlier portraits of Pere Tanguy, one very similar to this painting, both in palette and composition, and a warm, earth-tone portrait showing Tanguy in a 3/4 pose completed in 1887 seem to capture a different mood and a different state of mind of both the painter and his model.
It is said that Pere Tanguy never parted with this painting and its next owner was the famous sculptor, August Rodin who bought this painting from Tanguy’s family after the shop owner died in 1894. The portrait is now in the permanent collection of Musee Rodin.
* Musee Rodin, Paris.
** Janson’s History of Art, The Western Tradition.
This article ©galleryIntell 2013.