Van Gogh's Chair Vincent van Gogh Buy Art Prints Now
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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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Chair by Vincent Van Gogh is one of the best known oil paintings by the artist who left a huge legacy which remains strong even today, some 100 years later.

It follows on from the series of paintings in his bedroom, with the chair being included in far more detail this time. Memorably, the chair also has a small pipe, some tobaacco and rolling papers on it which are most likely to have been Vincent's as well as gives an extra clue as to his lifestyle.

Chair itself came about in 1888, and it was around this time that the artist produced one classic after another as his career went into top gear, at least in terms of the quality that he was consistently reaching. It seemed that as his mental condition deteriorated, so his paintings became bolder and better. The chairs of Gauguin, his close friend of that time, and Vincent are different in the extreme and offer an obvious visual clue as to the differences between these artists in background and artistic and social status.

Vincent's pipe which sits on his chair represents more than what one might think. Dickens once wrote about how pipes can help treat periods of depressive moods and as such the artist spent some time using this particular pipe. The object therefore represents more than simply a social habit but his ongoing battle to command his inherent mental problems, which ironically also inspired and drove his elaborate and colourful oil paintings. Shortly after the chair paintings Vincent and Paul Gauguin were sadly to fall out irrevocably as the former's behaviour began to deteriorate more and more to levels where even the forgiving and understanding French artist could not easily handle Vincent, who was finally committed to a mental institution near St Rémy near Arles.

Chair came from the famous Yellow House in Arles where Gauguin and Van Gogh spent much time. Vincent decorated the place with several of his Sunflowers series and these were later purchased by Gauguin who was a big fan of some of his work, but would always try to advise him to alter and vary his methods which were in contrast to Gauguin's own. As the far more established artist Gauguin felt obliged to "help" Van Gogh where he could. Perhaps the two chair paintings help to distinguish the progress of the two artists at that time too.

The period living with Gauguin was intended to help Vincent to get the most out of his ability and also finally come to like himself and grow content and calm in his own mind. He would at times listen to the established artist Gauguin but at other times much prefered to stubbornly continue on the same path that he had started on before.

Irises is a beautiful painting by Van Gogh who used Irises within several different works, sometimes as still lifes and in other cases, as here, in more natural surroundings within the classic French countryside of which he was such a great admirer. During the time of Irises the artist was experiencing great difficulities with his mental issues and paintings such as these were deliberately bright and vivid in an attempt to stave off these negative moods.

Irises is just one of a hge number of paintings created by Van Gogh featuring all sorts of different flowers with popies and roses amongst his most frequently used. Many others were also chosen because of their existence within the countryside that we was paintings at the time, and the artist would tyically paint objects accurately as to what he could see in the landscape, only within his own unique colour palette.

Vincent's Bedroom at Arles was a series of three paintings from 1888-1889 which covered the bedroom of Vincent van Gogh. Within the bedroom was his chair which he includes here in a much smaller way than in the later work that was fully dedicated to it. Interestingly, Van Gogh's friend Paul Gauguin also produced a set of paintings of chairs himself when they lived together and the two comparatively show the difference in mind and style between the two painters.

It is perhaps the success of his Bedroom series that led the artist plus friend Gauguin to cover the chair by itself. Many followers of Vincent are extremely interested in his personal objects and find these types of paintings very memorable, giving an insight into the artist's character as well as the life that he was living whilst creating such an incredible series of post-impressionist paintings.

Famous Influences on Vincent Van Gogh

Through the study of the letters sent by Van Gogh during his career, the conversations that he had with close friends and the consistent and the innovative painting style that he used throughout his life, it is possible to formulate a brief list below of the famous artists who influenced directly the career and methods of Van Gogh.

Locations for Vincent van Gogh's Paintings

The life of this artist is much studied and it is interesting to see how he would travel around France and the Netherlands regularly, rarely staying anywhere for long. Many categorise his paintings into the locations where they were painted, and a full list of these is included below.

  • Various parts of Netherlands - Up to 1886
  • Paris 1886-1888
  • Arles 1888-1889
  • Saint-Remy - 1889-1890
  • Auvers - 1890