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

    Jan Matejko – The Painter of Polish History

    By

    Jan Matejko (1838–1893) is one of the most famous Polish painters. When he was in his twenties, he was twice awarded the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris, where his paintings hung alongside the works of Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme. He is known...

  • 19th Century

    Russian History through the Eyes of Vasily Surikov

    By

    In the 19th century Russia historical painting was freed from formality and canons. We find a good example of this in the work of Vasily Surikov (1848-1916) who created historical paintings of deep philosophical content, many of which explored moral problems. His main theme is people....

  • 20th century

    Painting of the Week: Valentin Serov, Princess Olga Orlova

    By

    Late Tsarist Russia evokes images of great social inequality in respect of health, wealth, and happiness. In addition, it evokes images of extreme luxury, smothered in expensive fabrics and furs and layered in diamonds and pearls. Valentin Serov captured this glittering world through his evocative portraits...

  • Impressionism

    Wagnerism in Art: Painting Music or Listening to Pictures

    By

    What is Wagnerism? There are perhaps no other cultural movements in the world that we have named after one person. Wagnerism was admiration for Wagner’s musical oeuvre, which originated in the second half of the 19th century. The attention directed at his music was so huge...

  • 19th Century

    The Musician, the Faun, and the Sunrise—Impressionism in Three Arts

    By

    What do you get when you add some light, some inspiration, and some musical color? You get the recipe for cutting-edge content that will change how the world thinks about art. Read on for an illustration—an impression, if you will—of how artists build on each other’s...

To Top