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.  Singer currently writes “Painting of the Week” articles for DailyArt Magazine.

Comments

More in Painting of the Week

  • Portrait of Elena Luksch-Makowsky Portrait of Elena Luksch-Makowsky

    dailyart

    Elena Luksch-Makowsky: From St. Petersburg, through Vienna to Hamburg

    By

    On the 24th of September, the Belvedere Museum in Vienna opened an in-sight exhibition dedicated to Elena Luksch-Makowsky, a Russian painter and sculptor. She was one of the central figures of the Vienna Secession. The exhibition is a sequel to the City of Women exhibition at the...

  • 19th Century

    Clark Art Institute Highlights

    By

    The Clark Art Institute, often referred to as “The Clark,” was founded in 1950 to house the extensive art collection of Sterling and Francine Clark. The galleries opened to the public in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1955. The museum has since expanded its original collections through new...

  • 19th Century

    Why Don’t We Study Frédéric Bazille’s Works?

    By

    Undoubtedly you all have heard of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley or Edouard Manet. Yet, fewer of you will have heard of Frédéric Bazille, a friend and fellow painter of all of the above. Hence, we ask, why did he disappear from the mainstream history...

  • 19th Century

    Art History 101: Self-Portraits You Should Know

    By

    Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Self-portraits are closely tied with the existence of mirrors. Although mirrors have existed since antiquity, during the renaissance cheaper and better mirrors made in Venice came onto the market. This was one of the reasons...

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: Winslow Homer, Summer Squall

    By

    The crashing waves roar with a deafening thunder, and the foamy spray flies with a quickening speed. Great gusts of wind blow the waters over the rocks and over the sea shore. A storm of monstrous size lands aground and wreaks havoc upon humanity and nature....

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy