Quinces, Lemons, Pears and Grapes, 1887
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Van Gogh painted this exceptional still life with fruit in 1887. He was not so much interested in depicting the fruit itself as in making a color study; specifically, of the color yellow. The composition is built up in related tones of ocher, yellow and brown, complemented with a little pink, red, green and a bit of blue. The frame, too, is painted in yellow and ocher. Van Gogh dedicated this bright, Impressionist work to his brother Theo, who was responsible for his introduction to modern art.
The frame, however, was not always completely yellow. At first, the inner perimeter was red. Only later did Van Gogh decide to make the frame a part of his “harmony in yellow.” This is the only one of Van Gogh’s painted frames to have survived. In accordance with changing taste all the others have, unfortunately, been replaced.
Painted frames were popular with the Pointillists in this period; with painters like Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, whom Van Gogh greatly admired.