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Vincent Van Gogh Postman Roulin

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Product #: P25219
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With a paucity of potential models during this period, Van Gogh increasingly turned to the landscape for his subject matter. However, when a model was found that did appeal to him, he jumped at the chance of immortalizing them in oils. Originally he met, or discovered, the postman Joseph-Etienne Roulin at the Cafe de la Gare in Arles, where he was renting a room. Roulin's easy-going demeanor, Republican convictions (like those of Pere Tanguy), and lifestyle of heavy drinking (like the artist Monticelli in Paris) all appealed to Van Gogh. Furthermore, he also came to consider Roulin as something of a father figure, whose wisdom he compared to that of Socrates. Van Gogh painted him many times ut in all his portraits, whether only of his head or featuring the whole man, his profession remains clear; Roulin may have had the mind of a philosopher, but his blue uniform with yellow buttons always showed his actual vocation to be somewhat less elevated. This portrait was painted after Van Gogh was allowed out of hospital and may well have been executed as a token of friendship between the two men: Roulin stood loyally by when others began to regard Van Gogh as a dangerous menace. This painting differs from the other portraits of the postman mainly in its densely decorated background. Van Gogh's desire to fill the whole canvas with an overall design style can also be seen in works such as Portrait of Dr Rey (1889).

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