Arles/Saint-Rémy/Auvers-sur-Oise Working Group

February 1888-July 1890

After his move to Arles, Van Gogh began to make ambitious use of the ideas and techniques he had acquired in Paris. There were no artists in the vicinity who influenced him, however, except for Paul Gauguin in the autumn of 1888.

Van Gogh was influenced indirectly by Emile Bernard and Gauguin through his correspondence with them, in which they shared their artistic views. Another major factor in this period was the interaction between his paintings and his drawings.

Van Gogh’s drawing skills reached their pinnacle in Arles. His implement of choice was the reed pen, but there are also drawings in mixed media that reveal new artistic perspectives. Van Gogh was his own greatest inspiration.

In Saint-Rémy, the bold colour contrasts of the Arles period faded somewhat into the background, and his palette became more subdued. Around the same time, Van Gogh adopted a brushstroke that owed a great deal to his drawings. Some paintings from Auvers-sur-Oise are noteworthy for their unconventional shapes, such as his squares and double squares, which seem to hark back to the Barbizon School (Charles-François Daubigny).

After a concentrated period of drawing during the first half of Van Gogh’s stay in Arles, he focused mainly on painting from the autumn of 1888. Most of Van Gogh’s drawn oeuvre from the autumn of 1889 to July 1890 is very sketchy.