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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Thanks to his brother, Theo, a renowned art dealer in Paris, Vincent van Gogh got the opportunity to meet with Impressionists after his arrival to the capital of France in spring 1886.

During a visit to the last joint exhibition held by impressionists, he saw works by Paul Signac and Georges-Pierre Seurat for the first time. The pieces were painted using the pointillism technique. Like many other painters, Vincent van Gogh was impressed to the extent that he abandoned the dark-toned aesthetic he used in his previous pieces of art. The Dutch painter then taught himself the new painting technique by practicing on a series of small portraits before advancing to larger and more complex subjects.


Made in 1886, Seine is the location and subject of paintings drawn by Vincent van Gogh. In his paintings, Van Gogh captures the countryside which he used to find respite and relief from city life. Some of his pieces were painted in Paris while others were made in the northwestern suburbs of Paris in Asnières and Clichy. His new works vividly show the transition from the use of serious themes and somber colours to the use of more joyous themes and lighter, more colorful palettes.

The Seine Series of Paintings

The Seine with the Pont de la Grande Jatte – this piece was made on the painter's most favoured spot on the Seine near Asnières. Here, Van Gogh explored the use of dots of paint together with contrasting colours. Bank of the Seine – in this painting, Van Gogh experimented with the new technique of the pointillists, but in a unique way. He used large dots for the sky, small dots for trees and dashes for water. The Dutch painter also harnessed the impressionism technique to reflect water and create light.

Bridges across the Seine at Asnières – this painting was made in bright sunlight and open air with a scene depicting railway bridges over the river. Light and reflection were used effectively in this piece of art. The focal point of composition is a woman wearing a pink dress and holding a red parasol. This piece is one of the paintings he made of suburban landscapes, a setting he found through Émile Bernard whom he knew when with Fernand Cormon. Van Gogh made a number of paintings of bridges crossing the Seine over the time that he was in Paris (1886—1887). Walk Along the Banks of the Seine Near Asnières - also called Riverbank at Asnières, Walk Along the Banks of the Seine Near Asnières demonstrates the painter’s ability to use “short, rapid strokes of colour to get the atmosphere of a certain place.