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Reform Magazine | July 15, 2024

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Art in Focus - November 2023 - Reform Magazine

Art in Focus – November 2023

The Red Vineyard / Red Vineyard at Arles (Montmajour)
Vincent van Gogh
1888

This colourful, vibrant work may well be the only painting its creator Vincent van Gogh ever sold. Certainly, it is the only one for which we have a named buyer: Belgian painter and collector Anna Boch. It went for 400 francs, the equivalent of £16! It was painted in 1888, when Vincent was 35, just two years before his death.

Struggling with exhaustion and depression, he left cold, wet Paris, and headed south for Provence and the sun. The beauty of the region and the summer heat encouraged him to paint many of his most famous works, including around 860 oil paintings produced in the last two years of his life. The colours in this scene are glorious and the familiar brushstrokes make it full of energy and life, but perhaps also there is a sense of urgency here. The dark branches of the woodland on the hill give a sense that winter is coming. People are hurrying to gather in the harvest as the low autumn sun turns the leaves to flame red. Van Gogh is painting what he loves and cares most about – the poor, the peasants, and the working people of France.

Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney

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This article was published in the November 2023 edition of Reform

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