Life in Color

Aside from his reputable brushstroke, Van Gogh is recognized as an artist who knew how to express in color. Vincent not only captured light, darkness, contrast and accurate reflections of his surroundings with paint color, he captured emotion with his color scheme. Shoes look gloomy, somber and exhausted, his self-portraits can cast green shadows, which almost look like an unfavorable aura and a critical view of his persona.

We don’t all experience color the same way and yet we can all agree that Van Gogh’s deliberate choices when it comes to choosing hues are luminous.  Vincent was a genius when it came to color and colors in his works are never what they appear. Shadows containing shadows within them of primary colors, undertones echoing deeper meaning. Finding perfect balance between complimentary and contrasting pigments. Perhaps the real reason for this universal favoritism is because Van Gogh did not rely on color. Remember when you would draw thick black lines around the red shirt to separate it from the head and arms in 3rd grade? That is precisely what Vincent did not do. He used movement in his stroke to define form in the first place. Which is partly why Vincent’s works are so gratifying to look at- movement absorbs us and carries us away more than any strong pigment can. Leaning on color and using color to amplify are two completely different roads of working.

Van Gogh felt it was necessary to learn drawing before painting and to become familiar with black and white before meeting with color. The pigment that Vincent had intended for any of his works is long gone, taken away by time. We will never know precisely how his works were originally colored, which is why the Van Gogh Museum Editions is the most remarkable timestamp of his works we can get. Capturing his vision, seeing through his eyes in a way we won’t be able to in a hundred years from now when time will have faded out more of his bold perception.

 It seems rather ironic that the master of painted movement has crafted works which have since his afterlife evolved, faded and resulted in paintings where color has actually travelled of the pieces into thin air (the Bedroom’s walls were originally painted in violet hues). However, an artist who does not bet on color alone to define his way of art will have us mesmerized even in a color-blind world. 

By Claudia Kaltenbrunner Online PR assistant 30-11-2015