Monday, June 5, 2017

Vincent van Gogh's 'Undergrowth with Two Figures'

 Whenever we visit the Cincinnati Art Museum, there's always one painting I want to see. Again and again. Nothing else comes close. Vincent van Gogh's Undergrowth with Two Figures.

Others agree. It's the most popular piece in the museum's 67,000 piece collection.

 Painted in late June 1890, van Gogh had just left the asylum at Saint-Remy and was in Auvers-sur-Oise, a small village just north of Paris. van Gogh died on July 29 so this painting dates to the last month of his life.

 On June 30, van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo and mentioned this painting. "The trunks of the violet poplars cross the landscape perpendicularly like columns," he wrote. "The depth of Sous Bois is blue, and under the big trunks the grass blooms with flowers in white, rose, yellow and green."

 The colors - as always - are what most attracts me to this painting. Who would chose blue? Who would select pink? I know nothing about art beyond what I like. If van Gogh painted it, I like it.

 While Tom and I enjoyed this painting there wasn't another soul in the small room. To be alone with a van Gogh is thrilling, as though the artist was still at his easel applying the thick brush strokes. I leaned in close and took his macro ...

 It was given as a bequest of Mary E. Johnston in 1967. It measures 19 1/2 x 39 1/4.

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