Still Life with Bird’s Nests, 1885

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Oil on Canvas, 39.3 x 46.5 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
    (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)
  • F 111

In October 1885 Van Gogh painted 5 still lifes with birds’ nests, two of which are in the museum collection. He had a collection of ‘no less than 30 different birds’ nests' in his studio, according to his friend Anton Kerssemakers. The painter collected them himself during his ramblings or bought them from the local children for around 10 cents each. Unusual ones, such as the two ball-shaped wrens’ nests in the upper right and centre of the painting, were slightly more expensive. The relatively light foreground and background of the canvas was probably applied a couple of years later. By then Van Gogh had come into contact with the bright colours of the Impressionists during his time in Paris, and he seems to have found the dark background too sombre.

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