Vincent van Gogh
View of Auvers-sur-Oise
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, View of Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890, Oil on canvas; 34 x 42.1 cm (13 3/8 x 16 5/8 inches), Given in memory of Dorothy Sturges by a friend 35.770
The 12th-century church of Notre Dame d’Auvers dominates this view of the village north of Paris where Vincent van Gogh settled in May of 1890. Set high above the river, the church and its bell tower were recurrent motifs in van Gogh’s late landscapes, as were clusters of rooftops and sweeping fields in a region he found “full of well-being.” In this instance he presented a close-up view of the church quarter on an unusually small canvas, emphasizing the shapes of the houses with thick outlines while flattening the foreground with irregular brushstrokes to create a sensation of movement. Dark, leafy clusters soften the hillside. A few curling clouds cast the rooftops in blue, in dramatic contrast to the brilliant expanse of yellow wheat. Bare patches of canvas, which have darkened over time, and broken peaks of pigment suggest that van Gogh was experimenting with texture as a means of representing his physical perceptions of nature.