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French Impressionist Appreciation

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Colours of the Night
I have recently fallen in love with the colours of night - in particular Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh.

Starry Night Over the Rhone
Starry Night Over the Rhone

The Blue Night
While surfing through my saved pictures I found myself immersed in the colours of the blue night. The colour blue a blanket for a rich palette of colours. I can very easily lose myself in this painting. With Van Gogh every object and scene has a myriad of colours, but the blue always seems especially vivid.

Letters from Van Gogh
Van Gogh wrote many letters to his brother Theo talking about his work, compositions and his ideals. Here he describes his painting Starry Night Over the Rhone, including a small sketch of a 30 square canvas - in short the starry sky painted by night, actually under a gas jet. The sky is aquamarine, the water is royal blue, the ground is mauve. The town is blue and purple. The gas is yellow and the reflections are russet gold descending down to green-bronze. On the aquamarine field of the sky the Great Bear is a sparkling green and pink, whose discreet paleness contrasts with the brutal gold of the gas. Two colourful figurines of lovers in the foreground.

On the banks of the Rhone
This painting is from September 1888 and is one of Vincent van Gogh's paintings of Arles at night time. It was painted at a spot on the bank of the Rhone River that was only a one or two-minute walk from the Yellow House on the Place Lamartine which Van Gogh was renting at the time. The night sky and the effects of light at night provided the subject for some of his more famous paintings, including Cafe Terrace at Night (painted earlier the same month) and the later canvas from Saint-Rémy, The Starry Night. Many other works by Van Gogh excel with his visions if the night sky.

The Starry Night, with its visions of the Night Sky

Starry Night
Starry Night

Van Gogh's works have been seen often, but never get old. Ideally they are most fresh when seen first hand but it is not possible to zip over to France or a major gallery overseas that often. Instead, why not find your own muse within his paintings and use it as a screen saver or profile shot? The joy in finding the world within his eyes gives the soul a surge.

Prairie à Éragny
Prairie à Éragny

The Pissarro Landscape
Another alternative to finding a French impressionist masterpiece is to view a recent acquisition by the Art Gallery of South Australia, Prairie à Éragny. The 1886 Camille Pissarro landscape, has been described as "a quintessential French Impressionist landscape – full of vitality and colour, created by Pissarro's signature dynamic brushwork" by the gallery director Nick Mitzevich.

The painting, which is over 60cm by 73cm, demonstrates Piassrro's nuanced command of colour, will be unveiled at the gallery of August 22.

Very much looking forward to the unveiling.
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Why? The blue night and Pissaro Landscape
When: From August 22nd, 2014
Where: Art Gallery of South Australia
Cost: Free
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