Van Gogh and Gauguin: Electric Arguments and Utopian Dreams

By Bradley Collins | Go to book overview

— 4 —
Jean Valjean and
the Buddhist Monk

Van Gogh in Anticipation of Gauguin

I

From the winter until the fall of 1888, when Gauguin joined Vincent in Arles, both artists made tremendous artistic strides. Vincent famously reached that "high yellow note" that allowed him to produce some of the most accomplished works in his oeuvre. And Gauguin in Pont-Aven finally broke free of all vestiges of Impressionism to create his first fully Symbolist paintings. It would be an exaggeration to say that the two artists' entirely epistolary relationship during this period proved indispensable to their artistic advances. But it certainly affected the content, the quantity, and, in subtle ways, the style of their output. On the emotional level, the impact was greatest on Vincent, who turned the prospect of sharing his "Yellow House" with Gauguin into an overriding obsession. Yet Gauguin, who received many letters from Vincent and could read those sent to Bernard, did not remain unaffected. He became absorbed by a sensibility whose depths he had hardly penetrated in Paris.

The central drama during these months was when and how Gauguin would make his way to Arles. As early as May, Theo and Vincent had offered to pay Gauguin's living expenses in Arles in exchange for paintings. Yet it would take

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Van Gogh and Gauguin: Electric Arguments and Utopian Dreams
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Van Gogh 1
  • 2 - Gauguin 39
  • 3 - Van Gogh in Paris and First Encounters with Gauguin 65
  • 4 - Jean Valjean and the Buddhist Monk 85
  • 5 - Electric Arguments 129
  • 6 - Aftermath 193
  • Chronology 233
  • Notes 237
  • Selected Bibliography 253
  • Index 257
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