The secret behind Van Gogh’s satirical herring still life: they represent policemen

by AryanArtnews
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One of the most striking paintings a few weeks after Van Gogh cut off most of his ears is a still life of two smoked herrings. Vincent gave it to his artist friend Paul Signac, explaining that it was a diagonal reference to the police officer who captured him.

Two herrings (January 1889) Privately owned and rarely exhibited, it is one of the major loans to the Musée d’Orsay exhibition collected by the Neo-Impressionist Signac. Important show, Signac Collection Noor, It will run in Paris until February 13, 2022.

In March 1889, Signac, then 25, set out to paint on the Mediterranean coast. He became acquainted with Vincent in Paris two years ago and decided to stop by Arles overnight to visit a friend who had recovered from a mental attack just before Christmas at the hospital. Vincent cut off a portion of his left ear and delivered a piece of meat to a young woman in a local brothel.

Maximilian Ruth Portrait of Paul Signac (1889, the year of his visit to Arles) Credits: Private collection

Immediately after his visit to Signac, Vincent reported to his brother Theo: “As a souvenir, two smoked herrings called gendarmerie were drawn, giving him a still life that resented the good gendarmerie in the town of Arles.” Hallen Saul (Smoked herring similar to British kipper) is sometimes used as a slang term Military police (Policeman).

Van Gogh Military police.. Their police station in Arles was in Piazza La Martine, just a few doors down from the yellow house he shared with his friend Paul Gauguin. NS Military police Therefore, you must have known these two eccentric artists.

Early in the morning after Van Gogh cut his ears, police arrived at the Yellow House to determine if the crime had been committed. Gauguin, who fled Van Gogh and spent the night at a local hotel, found himself being questioned by the police and returned. Gauguin, plagued by their hostile attitude, later painted two portraits of their chief, Joseph Dornano. At first it looks like he’s talking to a goose, and second he’s confused by the easel painting.

A sketch of Paul Gauguin’s police chief Joseph Dornano — the mocking caption translates to “I’m the police chief !!!”. And “you draw a picture” Credit: Duplicate with René Huyghe, Le Carnet de Paul Gauguin, Quatre Chemins, Paris, 1952

Van Gogh’s physical wounds healed relatively quickly, but his mental health continued to deteriorate. Shortly before the arrival of Signac in March 1889, Van Gogh instructed Van Gogh to stay in the hospital with his yellow house trapped.

Signac met a friend at the hospital and Van Gogh suggested that he should go to the Yellow House with him to see his latest paintings. Police initially denied them access, but eventually forgave them and allowed the two artists to enter.Vincent foresaw their obstruction and warned that he would be involved in Theo Military police I was putting my hand “in the beehive”.

Two herrings Smoked fish is drawn on a crumpled wrapping paper placed on a plate placed on a chair. The rush sheet pattern provides a textured background for still lifes.The same (or similar) furniture will appear in the picture Van Gogh’s Chair (December 1888-January 1889), now at the National Gallery in London.

Perspective Two herringsLooking down at the chair, the complementary yellow and purplish colors would have appealed to Signac. He left the painting until his death in 1935 and handed it over to his daughter, Ginette. The inventory taken shortly after Signac’s death valued the still life at £ 30,000, which is equivalent to £ 400 (£ 30,000 for today’s money).

Missing attention is the second most interesting entry in the unpublished inventory of Signac’s work, which mentions Van Gogh’s self-portrait. Van Gogh), valued at 300 francs (£ 4). Is this really a previously unknown self-portrait of Van Gogh?

Reference to “Uneeau-forte, portrait de l’artiste, par Van Gogh, prix trois cents francs”, Catalog of Paul Signac’s works, 1935 Credits: Archives Signac, Paris

Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. The print was most likely one of the etchings that Van Gogh was actually known to have done. It is a portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet. (June 1890). Perhaps the person editing the inventory mistaken Dr. Gachet’s face for Van Gogh’s face. It seems that Signac’s inventories have not been tracked, but there are about 70 impressions of Dr. Gachet’s prints.

Signac remained a loyal friend. Less than a year after he visited Arles, there was a line at the exhibition of the artist group Les Vingt in Brussels. A fellow exhibitor, the Belgian artist Henry de Groux, was horrified by the six paintings Van Gogh was showing. De Gru threatened to withdraw his work. “As far as I am concerned, I don’t want to be in the same room as Mr. Vincent and others’ funny pots of sunflowers. Agent provocateur“.

At the show’s opening banquet, a hostile act broke out when Van Gogh’s supporters opposed De Gru and almost caused a duel. Le Vint’s secretary, Octave Morse, later recalled:[Henri de Toulouse-] Lautrec jumped up, shouting that it was scandalous that slandered such an artist. De Gru argued. The fuss. Seconds have been specified. Signac calmly declared that if Lautrec was killed, he would take on the case himself. Fortunately, the violence was avoided and the next morning De Gru resigned from Les Vints.

Signac set out on a pilgrimage to the Van Gogh archaeological site in southern France at the age of 69, two years before his death. He traveled to Arles to see the Yellow House. Signac then went to the asylum of nearby Saint-Remy-Doprovence, where Van Gogh had withdrawn for a year.

A search of the newly discovered asylum visitor’s book found the Signac signature dated April 1933. When he signed, his thoughts must have returned to his encounter at Yellow House 44 years ago and the gift of Vincent. Two herrings..

A book of visitors to the Small Museum of Asylum of Saint Paul de Mosole, an entry signed by Paul Signac and his companion Jeanne, April 1933. © Archives Municipales, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.Photo: Martin Bailey, duplicated in Starry Night: Van Gogh in exile, NS. 176

Other Van Gogh News

• The early Van Gogh landscape of the private collection was exhibited at the Noordbrabants Museum In Den Bosch, the Netherlands. It is now on display with a group of 12 other works from Van Gogh’s Brabant era, owned or rented by the museum. Polard birch It was painted in the village of Nuenen in the south of the Netherlands in the fall of 1885. The photo is from Van Kempen, a banking and financial services company based in Denbosch, and is a museum.

Van Gogh Polard birch (Autumn 1885) Credits: Kunstcollectie Van Lanschot Kempen, Den Bosch

Martin Bailey Is the author of Van Gogh’s Finale: Overs and Artist’s Fame (Francis Lincoln, 2021, available in the UK And the United States). He is Van Gogh’s main expert and Art newspaper.. Bailey curated the Van Gogh exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery and the Compton Bernie / Scottish National Gallery.He was a co-curator of Tate Britain EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and England (March 27th-August 11th, 2019).

Martin Bailey’s recent Van Gogh book

Bailey has written many other best-selling books. Sunflowers are mine: Van Gogh’s masterpiece story (Francis Lincoln 2013, available in the UK And the United States), South Studio: Van Gogh in Provence (Francis Lincoln 2016, available in the UK And the United States) When Starry Night: Van Gogh in exile (White Lion Publishing 2018, available in the UK And the United States).Baileys Life with Vincent van Gogh: Houses and landscapes that shaped the artist (White Lion Publishing 2019, available in the UK And the United States) Provides an overview of the artist’s life. Van Gogh’s Illustrated Provence Letter Reissued (Batsford 2021, available in the UK) And the United States).

• To contact Martin Bailey, please send an email to vangogh @ For inquiries regarding Van Gogh Museum certification, please contact the Van Gogh Museum...

Read more from Martin’s Adventures on Van Gogh’s Blog here

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