Gate in the Paris ramp, 1886

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Pencil, pen in brown ink, transparent and opaque watercolour, on wove paper, 24 x 32 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
    (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)
  • F 1401
Weg langs de Parijse verdedigingswerken Road running beside the Paris ramparts

In Paris Van Gogh was inspired by the impressionists’ light palette and the neo-impressionists’ colour contrasts. His dark-toned drawings from his Dutch period made way for bright experiments in contrasting colours. The artist’s new palette is evident in this representation of the Porte de Clichy, one of the entrances through the 30 kilometre long ramparts and walls that still surrounded Paris when Van Gogh lived there. During the summer of 1887 he produced four watercolours of these city defences.

More information about "Gate in the Paris ramp"


Seated by the road past the ramparts, Van Gogh used pencil to lay out the scene in situ, making a note on the drawing of a number of colours to help him develop the composition in his studio. Some of these colour notes can still be seen, for example, ’violet’ (on the left wall) and ‘jaune’ (in the grass above the right wall).
Working in watercolour with genuinely transparent paint was a new development in Van Gogh’s technique. Previously he had only worked with opaque watercolour and in muted tones. This drawing clearly shows the direction that Van Gogh’s art would eventually take, towards brighter, more powerful colours.

Japanese influence

Van Gogh was a great admirer of Japanese prints. Together with his brother Theo he assembled a considerable collection of these works, now kept in the Van Gogh Museum.
The artist’s admiration for Japanese art can also be discerned in this drawing, produced in the same period in which he painted three copies after Japanese prints.
Gate in the Paris ramp has been particularly influenced by ukiyo-e, scenes of everyday life in Japan. This influence is evident in the bright colours, composition and presence of many small figures. The artist has even used the same, small format.

Brug in de regen (naar Hiroshige) Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige)
De courtisane (naar Eisen) The Courtesan (after Eisen)
Gezicht op de Saruwakacho Hiroshige, View of the Saruwakacho
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