Paris, September - November 1886 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
oil on canvas,
38.1 cm x 45.3 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Worn-out shoes were an unusual choice of subject for a painting. An acquaintance of Van Gogh's in Paris described how he bought old work shoes at a flea market. Then he walked through the mud in them until they were filthy. Only then did he feel they were interesting enough to paint. Van Gogh made a number of still lifes of this subject.
He painted Shoes over another picture: a view from his brother Theo's apartment. Van Gogh used the same canvas more than once on other occasions too. It was a way of saving money.