The Portrait of Etienne-Lucien Martin was made of the owner of a restaurant in Paris. He allowed artists to exhibit their work. In November 1887 Van Gogh and his friends showed their works; Van Gogh did not sell a painting. Van Gogh made the painting of Martin with care and precision. The colors within the portrait itself and the background were subdued, painted with delicate brushstrokes. The gentleman's face, though, has striped of colors across the cheeks
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, on or about Sunday, 20 May 1883.
My dear Theo,
I wanted to let you know in just a word or two that Rappard has been to see me and that I’ve borrowed 25 guilders from him, with the promise of repayment in the autumn. I was
delighted by his visit — he came in the morning and stayed until the last train in the evening, and we spent the whole day looking at one thing and another, and he did a sketch
using printer’s ink and turpentine to try it out. Now I’m going to him tomorrow to see his work and his studio.
It was a truly enjoyable day — he was rather changed in both his appearance and his manner — for my part I find him much better like this than before. He’s broader in the
shoulders, and in his views on many matters as well, I believe.
Well, the money from him has helped me to get many things I needed; it was badly needed.
I used it, among other things, to have large sketchpads made for outdoors. I had to keep back some money for a pair of trousers, though, and tomorrow there’s the cost of
travelling to Utrecht. But it still helps.
In addition, I was surprised by a very brief visit from Pa. Neither he nor I mentioned your news about the woman. Pa probably thought I didn’t know yet, and I kept to
I think Pa was rather taken by the figures of workmen I’m working on.
Among the pads I’d made with the money from R. there’s one for watercolours too.
I tried it out straightaway, a hut in the dunes with a wheelbarrow &c. in the foreground, a figure of a digger in the background.
Ah, Theo. I’ll get the hang of watercolour one day or another. In the last few days, or rather weeks, I’ve had the very pleasant company outdoors of a young surveyor who was
trying his hand at drawing. He showed me drawings which I thought poor, and I told him why I thought they were poor. After that I naturally expected to hear no more from
him — but one fine day he approached me again, he had time now and might he come with me outdoors? Well, Theo, that chap has got the hang of landscape drawing so well that
these days he brings along truly attractive sketches of meadows and woods and dunes. He has to take an examination in October, however, and his father doesn’t want him to
spend so much time on it. But in my view he can easily combine his profession of surveyor with drawing.
He’s the same sort of young chap as Rappard when we first met him. What he did before I knew him were horribly botched paintings, generally atrocious. I began by telling him that
first he should only draw for a while — I had to make him draw lots of things, which he didn’t enjoy but he trusted me in that. Well, this morning he asked if he might have
another go at painting, and that went extremely well now and he has scraped off all his old things.
Am longing for a letter from you. Rappard sends his regards. Are things going well for you, and for your patient? Pa did say that you’d written to them about coming this summer.
I can hardly tell you how I long for that.
Saw The harvest by Lhermitte in the Salon illustrated catalogue. It looks beautiful; how it captures the truth of the work and of the peasant figure.
Well, adieu, I hope your letter comes soon for I have need of it again. I saw Arnold in town with someone else, perhaps Tripp — they were walking with Mauve. But saw them in
the far distance. Because Mauve was in the middle I thought of Christ between two thieves, or else the group, in dark silhouette against a sunlit wall, looked like someone
being taken in by two gendarmes. Anyway, those are figments of one’s imagination, things as they might be seen. I wish you well, old chap, with a handshake.
Claude Monet - The Grenouillère 1869 During the summer of 1869, Monet and Renoir set up their easels at La Grenouillère, a boating and bathing resort on the Seine, not far from Paris. Monet noted on Sept. 25, "I do have a dream, a painting, the baths of La Grenouillère, for which I have made some bad sketches, but it is only a dream... - art-Monet.com
Grant Wood - American Gothic 1930 The impetus for the painting came while Wood was visiting the small town of Eldon in his native Iowa. There he spotted a little wood farmhouse, with a single oversized window, made in a style called Carpenter Gothic. “I imagined American Gothic people with their faces stretched out long to go with this American Gothic house,” he said. - ArtsViewer.com