fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Painting of the Week: Vincent Van Gogh, Almond Blossom

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Detail.

Painting of the Week

Painting of the Week: Vincent Van Gogh, Almond Blossom

Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime. He was not a financially successful artist, and he was entirely dependent on his brother to monetarily support his artistic vision. However, Vincent van Gogh had a great love and appreciation towards his brother. He knew he could not pursue becoming a painter without his brother’s support. Almond Blossom was a gift from the talented artist to his beloved brother. In continued celebration of DailyArt Magazine’s working relationship with the Van Gogh Museum during May, let us explore another piece from its permanent collection. Let us explore Almond Blossom.

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Detail.
Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Detail.

Vincent van Gogh painted Almond Blossom in February of 1890 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. It was early spring in the south of France, and the almond trees were blooming. Their bright white flowers were contrasting against the cold blue sky. The almond tree branches were full of renewed life as the surrounding landscape was still empty and frost-bitten. This beautiful image of rebirth and new life is exactly what Vincent van Gogh captured in his painting Almond Blossom.

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail of Flowers.
Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail.

Vincent van Gogh painted Almond Blossom in celebration of his nephew’s birth. Theodorus van Gogh, affectionately known as Theo, was the proud father of the boy and named his son Vincent Willem van Gogh. It was a touching tribute, and the painter was obviously moved by the gesture as he gifted Almond Blossom to Theo, his sister-in-law Jo, and little baby Vincent. It remained in the family, and was never placed in Theo’s art gallery in Paris where other Vincent van Gogh pieces were displayed for unsuccessful sale. However, despite not selling a single piece of his brother’s works, Theo regularly sent Vincent money to support his artistic pursuits.

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail of Branch Shadows.
Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail.

Almond Blossom is a great artistic achievement. It is stylistically influenced by the Japanese prints that were popular in France during the late 19th century. These Japanese woodcuts were bold in line and colour and sometimes featured strong outlines and a limited colour scheme. Almond Blossom does not feature any distracting mid-ground or background. The entire composition is in the foreground against a simple and solid background. Like an intense shadow or silhouette, Almond Blossom has a very strong outline. The Japanese influence is apparent. Furthermore, Almond Blossom has a very limited colour scheme like a Japanese print. It has mostly tints and shades of blue and white with small hints of yellow and red to add warmth to the piece. However, while the colours may be limited they are vibrant and bold. Almond Blossom fuses the strong colours and bright lights of southern France with the bold lines and limited palette of Japan.

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail of Blue Background.
Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Enlarged Detail.

Vincent van Gogh painted Almond Blossom only five months before he died in July of 1890. However, Vincent painted many pieces in the months leading to his death. During the nineteen months when he lived in and around Arles, Vincent van Gogh painted 255 images. This staggering achievement amounts to an original painting every two to three days for over 570 days! Vincent van Gogh was extremely prolific when he painted Almond Blossom for his brother’s family. He painted endlessly and transitioned from Impressionist origins to the beginnings of Expressionism. Almond Blossom is a deceptively simple painting. However its deceptive simplicity is what makes it deliciously enjoyable to view. It is bold, fresh, and bright. It is life itself. It is baby Vincent at the beginning of his life’s journey. It may be the one of the reasons why Vincent Willem van Gogh later founded the Van Gogh Museum.


Works Referenced
Almond Blossom.” Van Gogh Museum. Accessed May 10, 2020. 
“Neo-Impressionism & Post-Impressionism.” In Impressionism, 262–63 & 315-18. Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 2006.
“Rise of Modernism: Art of the Later 19th Century.” In Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, 12th ed., 879–80. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc., 2005.


Read also:

James W. Singer is an art historian and fine art photographer.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Florida.  Singer has sold works at local galleries and art shows throughout Florida.  He currently writes “Painting of the Week” articles for DailyArt Magazine.

Comments

More in Painting of the Week

  • 19th Century

    A Perfect World of Perfect Women in James Tissot’s Paintings

    By

    This title might be a little controversial. In fact, critics find the term demimondaine to be more accurate when describing Tissot’s series of paintings of women called La Femme à Paris. This is because the “perfect” women in James Tissot’s paintings were not so perfect for...

  • Unequal marriage.Vasili Pukirev, Unequal Marriage, 1862, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia Unequal marriage.Vasili Pukirev, Unequal Marriage, 1862, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

    19th Century

    Unhappily Ever After: Unequal Marriage by Vasili Pukirev

    By

    Vasili Pukirev’s painting Unequal Marriage has a legend about it: allegedly, after looking at it, all the elderly grooms refused to marry their young brides. Unequal Marriage openly condemned the commercialism of Russian society. In reality, there was no magic. Just the young bride’s face, touching...

  • 19th Century

    Female vs. Male Gaze: Suzanne Valadon’s Reclining Nude

    By

    Female nudes are prevalent throughout art history. There are the ancient mythological goddesses, the Biblical Eves and Susannas, and then there are the female nudes, depictions devoid of any costume either mythological or literal. For those nudes, the formula is basically the same: a beautiful woman...

  • Norse Mythology: Njörðr, Skaði, and Freyr Norse Mythology: Njörðr, Skaði, and Freyr

    19th Century

    The Complicated History of Norse Mythology in Art

    By

    Literally speaking, mythology is an old-school kind of storytelling. “Mythos” is a Greek word for “story” while “logia” has the meaning of “telling”, or more specifically, “knowledge.” All the mythologies have their origins in communities telling stories through word of mouth. In the same vein, Norse mythology...

  • 19th Century

    The First-Ever Femme Fatale: Lilith in a Painting by John Collier

    By

    The apparent sweetness of this work by John Collier (1850–1934), a Pre-Raphaelite painter, is a wonderful testimony of the two sides of Lilith’s figure. Juggling between the images of sensuality, beauty, and that of a cold murderess, Collier is one of the artists that has transformed...

To Top