When Vincent van Gogh moved from Paris to the South of France in 1888, the rural environs inspired him to revisit some of the central themes of his Dutch years, such as the changing seasons and the "labors of the fields." At the same time, his work was greatly influenced by his admiration for Japanese art and culture, coupled with his ambition to create distinctly modern pictures. This lecture discusses Van Gogh's Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier) in the context of these interests, which played such a crucial role in the painter's efforts to define himself as a member of the avant-garde.
Judy Sund of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York presents: Van Gogh's Peasants: The Essence of Earthiness. Van Gogh's portraits of Patience Escalier, one of which will be on loan to the Frick this fall, were part of his long-term project to capture the essence of the peasant. Inspired by literary descriptions as well as by the art of the past, he was intent on giving definitive form to a well-established type. Abandoning strict accuracy in favor of evocative color and texture, van Gogh aimed to convey a sense of the agrarian laborer's life on the land and to capture something "truer than the literal truth."
The following lectures will be Webcast. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are free. No reservations are necessary, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Many lectures will be webcast live and thereafter can be viewed on our Web site or The Frick Collection’s channel on FORA.tv.