In the years ahead, this blog will present many research results and behind-the-scenes looks at our ongoing exploration of Van Gogh’s studio practice. If you’d like to stay informed about the latest developments, you can subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates about new results and findings.

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Hidden in the heath

How Van Gogh listened to the advice from a friend…

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Every single section of the paper is used

The recycling of materials is a hot issue, environmentally-friendly and practical. Old toys and packaging materials are melted down to create a new dashboard or a plastic chair. Advanced technologies are used to manufacture biodegradable tomato containers; an old tin of peas is given a new life as a deodorant aerosol can. This is without even mentioning creative applications such as dishes made from compressed coffee grounds, cabinets made from old bread bins and lamps from old atlases. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two for the price of one: Van Gogh’s reused paintings



An intriguing aspect of Van Gogh’s working practice is his common habit of recycling of existing pictures in order to reuse the supports. Surprisingly, examination of eighty-seven Paris pictures in our collection revealed as many as twenty-five painted over existing compositions, besides an additional 6 painted on the reverse of Nuenen works. This practice of re-use covers the full range of his output, from small studies on cheap carton supports to ambitious works on expensive, fine quality canvases.

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Blue is the new black

Nothing is as fickle as fashion. And when it comes to fashion, everything revolves around colour. While yesterday, your flashy neon leggings might have been the height of chic, perhaps a more modest milk chocolate/cappuccino look will be in vogue tomorrow. Trends come and go. Sometimes painters also want to bring something new to a canvas, to create a fashionable effect. Naturally, you can do this by trying to find the right colours yourself, but it’s also good to take a look at what the paint manufacturers have devised. Read the rest of this entry »

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A new colour in Van Gogh’s palette


Van Gogh made a gradual shift, starting in Antwerp and continuing in Paris, from a traditional palette of subdued colours to a more modern palette of brighter hues. He used some types of paint less, or stopped using them altogether, and new types found their way into his work.

One of the pigments that Van Gogh began using in the spring of 1886 was the greenish-blue cerulean blue (cobalt tin oxide), a pigment that came onto the market in the second half of the 19th century. In the past, we thought that Van Gogh had used this pigment for the first time in Paris, and not during his earlier Dutch period.

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