Van Gogh and Hals

While we were in Amsterdam we naturally went to the Van Gogh Museum, which is great: and by coincidence we arrived on Van Gogh’s 170th birthday. The gallery shows works by various other artists, highlighting the influence of Japanese pictures and pointillism, for example.

I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of this picture before – it’s by Gauguin, of Van Gogh painting sunflowers!

One other artist admired by Van Gogh was Frans Hals, whose works we saw in Harlem.

Hals’s brushwork was always loose and became extraordinarily free in old age. Lace collars from this period look like random slashes of white paint close up, but when you back off they look perfect from a distance. Apparently at the time some though he was senile, but then other artist’s styles (Turner, El Greco) have been attributed to poor eyesight, and indeed Van Gogh’s to mental illness.

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