Montmartre: windmills and allotments, 1887

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Oil on Canvas, 44.8 X 81 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
    (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)
  • F 346

When Vincent and Theo lived there, Montmartre was still semi-rural. There was farmland and allotment gardens; three of the celebrated windmills were still standing. The latter were a favorite destination for day-trippers from the city. The largest mill in the painting, Le Blute-Fin, had a pavement café affording a magnificent view over Paris; at the top of the mill, there was a viewing platform. Round the mills there were also various catering establishments and dance halls.

Here Van Gogh stresses the rustic charm of the area, showing people working in their allotments. Nonetheless, modern development looms: to the left of the smaller mill, a large apartment building rises above the fields.

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