Van Gogh opts for a blue portrait
Van Gogh painted several exceptional portraits in Auvers. He set out to depict the soul of the person portrayed, ‘using as a means of expression and intensification of the character our science and modern taste for colour [...] I’ve done a portrait of a young girl, in blue against a blue background.’
The girl in question was Adeline Ravoux, the 12-year-old daughter of the landlord of the inn where Van Gogh was lodging. Many years later, she recalled posing for him. Van Gogh did not speak a word, she said, but smoked his pipe non-stop. He signed the canvas and gave it to her. Adeline did not think it a good likeness at all. Compare the portrait with a later photo of her: do you think she was right?