Wednesday, April 13, 2016

From a Van Gogh letter

Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, c. May 4, 1888:

As for me, I shall carry on working, and here and there something of my work will prove of lasting value — but who will there be to achieve for figure painting what Claude Monet has achieved for landscape? However, you must feel, as I do, that someone like that is on the way — Rodin? — he doesn’t use colour — it won’t be him. But the painter of the future will be a colourist the like of which has never yet been seen.

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh , ed. Ronald de Leeuw, trans. Arnold Pomerans (New York: Penguin, 1997).
A colourist the like of which has never yet been seen”: that sounds to me like Henri Matisse, who in 1888 had not yet begun to paint.

Also from Van Gogh’s letters
Admire as much as you can”
“It was a bright autumn day and a beautiful walk”
“Lately, during the dark days before Christmas”
“So you must picture me sitting at my attic window”
“At the moment, I can see a splendid effect”
“The ride into the village was beautiful”

comments: 2

The Crow said...

Matisse would certainly fill the bill, as would Whistler, Seurat. American artists Arthur Dow, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, Homer, F. Remington, plus Maxfield Parrish, Tiffany, Warhol, or Peter Max, all of whom used color in unexpected (frequently castigated) ways.

On the other hand, maybe you meant Europeans of van Gogh's era?

Michael Leddy said...

I was thinking of what would have been the near future for Van Gogh, also of figure painting. And I immediately thought of all those red interiors. Matisse began painting in 1889.