The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society

By Linda Nochlin | Go to book overview

6
Van Gogh, Renouard, and the Weavers' Crisis in Lyons

Sometime during the winter of 1885, just about the time he began work on his monumental Potato Eaters, Vincent van Gogh wrote from Nuenen to his brother Theo: "You would greatly oblige me by trying to get for me: Illustration No. 2174, 24 October 1884. . . . There is a drawing by Paul Renouard in it, a strike of weavers at Lyon. . . ." Van Gogh goes on to discuss other drawings by Renouard, and concludes: " . . . I think the drawing of the weavers the most beautiful of all; there is so much life and depth in it that I think this drawing might hold its own beside Millet, Daumier, Lepage."1 The drawing in question must have meant a great deal to van Gogh, for he mentions it again in a letter to his brother a little later in the year: "I am sorry you did not send L'Illustration, for I have followed Renouard's work pretty regularly, and for many years I have saved up what he did for L'Illustration. And this is one of the most splendid which I think would delight you too."2 Still later, van Gogh's tone of urgency deepens, as does the specificity of his description of the work in question: "Many thanks for the Illustrations you sent, I am much obliged to you. I think all the various drawings by Renouard beautiful and I did not know one of them.

"However--this is not to give you extra trouble, but because I wrote things about it which perhaps cannot quite be applied to other drawings of his--the composition to which I referred is not among them. Perhaps that number of Illustration is sold out. The breadth of the figure in it was

-95-

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The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Introduction xii
  • Notes xxiii
  • 1- The Invention of the Avant-Garde: France, 1830-1880 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2- Courbet, Oller, and a Sense Of Place: the Regional, The Provincial, and the Picturesque In 19th-Century Art 19
  • Notes 32
  • 3- The Imaginary Orient 33
  • Notes 57
  • 4- Camille Pissarro: The Unassuming Eye 60
  • Notes 74
  • 5- Manet's Masked Ball at the Opera 75
  • Notes 92
  • 6- Van Gogh, Renouard, And The Weavers' Crisis in Lyons 95
  • 7- Léon Frédéric And The Stages of a Worker's Life 120
  • Notes 139
  • 8- Degas and the Dreyfus Affair: A Portrait of the Artist As an Anti-Semite. 141
  • Notes 164
  • 9- Seurat's La Grande Jatte: An Anti-Utopian Allegory 170
  • Notes 190
  • Index 194
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