Vincent van Gogh
View of Arles
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, View of Arles, 1888, Reed pen and ink, and wash over graphite on paper; 43.2 x 54.6 cm (17 x 21 1/2 inches), Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 42.212A
Executed with his distinctive reed pen, this drawing is one of the first in which van Gogh used an overall dot pattern. This technique, like the expressive brushwork of his painted compositions, creates visual vibrations. The drawing functioned both as a preparatory study and a finished composition for the market. After first drafting a perspective box in graphite, van Gogh drew the central composition on site and later used it as the basis for an oil study, now at the van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. He then finished the View of Arles for sale in Paris by adding irises with an ink-laden pen in the foreground, as well as a title and signature. He mentioned the drawing in a letter to his brother and art dealer, Theo, on May 7, 1888.