Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), The Hague, August 1882
oil on paper on canvas,
36.4 cm x 51.9 cm
Credits: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (State of the Netherlands, bequest of A.E. Ribbius Peletier)
Van Gogh made this view of the sea in 1882, while living in The Hague. He went from the city to the seaside to paint a 'nasty little storm'. He did a good job of capturing the dark sky and, in particular, the breaking waves: 'the effect of furrows of ploughed land', he wrote to his brother Theo.
Van Gogh dashed off this study quickly. For the crests of the waves, he even squeezed the paint directly out of the tube. The strong wind made painting difficult. Grains of sand were blown into the paint all over the canvas. Although this is one of his first oil paintings, Van Gogh's unique brushwork is already easy to recognise.