Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, September 1885
oil on canvas,
45.0 cm x 60.4 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
In a letter to his brother Theo, Vincent explained exactly why he had chosen certain colour contrasts in this still life. For example, he used red accents in the apples alongside 'greenish things'. Red and green form a pair of what are known as complementary colours. Pairs like these form the basis of the colour theory of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), an artist Van Gogh greatly admired.
Vincent studied handbooks of colour and applied what he learned in his art. Theo was also gradually learning more about the subject, as shown by Vincent's somewhat cynical remark: 'well observed – but – did you come up with that on your own???'.