Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)

Nature morte à la cafetière

Still Life with Coffee Pot
May 1888
    Oil on canvas
65 × 81 cm

In February 1888, Van Gogh settled in Arles, in the south of France, seeking a better climate and a less expensive standard of living than in Paris. While awaiting the arrival of his friend Paul Gauguin, he was constantly working. As the weeks were passing by, his palette, which had already become much richer during his stay in Paris, was constantly gaining in brightness and thickness. He painted mainly outdoors, because the room where he was staying was quite cramped. When he rented four rooms in what is known as the Yellow House at the beginning of May, he immortalized some of his few belonging in two still lifes. He was mostly proud of his Still life with coffeepot, a composition influenced by the still lifes he had seen at Émile Bernard’s atelier a few months earlier.

Although Van Gogh cannot be considered a synthetist painter, he was inspired by the general principles of this movement, born at that time, in order to paint this work. He used pure, spot colours that expressed his mood and emotions. He did not insist on the details that were no longer needed. As for the perspective, he merely implied it with certain shadows falling on the tablecloth and brush strokes, all of which were oriented more or less directly towards the coffeepot. However, the artist went beyond those general principles. Where he dared the most was to use an extremely vivid yellow for the background, a method that will be repeated many times later and will make Paul Klee say that “Here a brain is consumed by the fire of a star”. This option, which looks almost like a claim, comes in balance with the different blue of the utensils and the tablecloth which, combined with the orange and white tones, create a harmony of contrasts that is rarely achieved by combining the complementary colours. Van Gogh completes the composition by surrounding it with a thin red-brown border, highlighted by a white ribbed fabric, approximately 5 cm wide. His initiative, which in turn adorns the canvas with a natural frame, proves his particular fondness for this work. Indeed, just like Gauguin, Van Gogh had always insisted that his works be displayed with white frames because they are thought to capture the light better, a fact that highlights them more.

Signatures and Inscriptions
Signed ‘Vincent’ (upper left)
Provenance

Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Amsterdam

Carl Sternheim, Munich (November 1909, sale Fred Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 11 February 1919, no. 6, ill.)

Carl Sternheim, Reichenberg, Dresden

Thea Sternheim, Paris

Sam Salz Inc., New York

Galerie Paul Guillaume, Paris

Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (photograph no. 2956, 1931)

Marquis de Chabannes, France

Alex Reid & Lefevre, London

Private collection, since 1972

Exhibited

Paris, 1891, no. 182

The Hague, Arts and Crafts Gallery, Vincent van Gogh, 1892, no. 34, ill.

Berlin, 1901, no. 18/182

Krefeld, 1903, no. 25

Wiesbaden, 1903, no. 21

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vincent van Gogh, 1905, no. 130

Utrecht, Vereeniging ‘Voor de Kunst’, Tentoonstelling van schilderijendoor Vincent van Gogh, 1905, no. 41

Rotterdam, Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, Tentoonstelling Vincent van Gogh, 1906, no. 38

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Cent tableaux de Vincent van Gogh, 1908, no. 43

Dresden, Emil Richter, Vincent van Gogh/Paul Cézanne, 1908, no. 34

Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Vincent van Gogh Ausstellung, 1908, no. 39

Berlin, Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm, VII. Ausstellung, 1908, no. 37

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, 1908, no. 35

Munich, Moderne Kunsthandlung [F.J. Brakl], Vincent van Gogh [French Period], 1909, no. 43

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Ausstellung Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890, 1910, no. 38

Cologne, Städtische Ausstellungshalle am Aachener Tor, International Exhibition, no. 27

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Vincent van Gogh, 30 März 1853-29 Juli 1890. Zehnte Ausstellung, May - June 1914, no. 85

Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Meisterwerke aus Privatbesitz, 20 August - 8 October1922, no. 56

Basel, Kunsthalle, Vincent van Gogh, 27 March - 21 April 1924, no. 25

Zurich, Kunsthaus, Vincent van Gogh, 3 July - 10 August 1924, no. 28

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vincent van Gogh en zijntijdgenooten, September - November 1930, no. 44

Paris, Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Œuvres importantes de grands maîtres du 19ème siècle, 1931, no. 41

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries & Paul Rosenberg, Exhibition of Important Paintings by Great French Masters of the Nineteenth Century, 1934, no. 22

London, New Burlington Galleries, Exhibition of masters of French 19th
century painting, 1936, no. 4, 104

London, The Lefevre Gallery, Alex Reid & Lefevre, 1926-1976, 1976, p. 82, ill. p. 83

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh in Arles, 18 October - 30 December 1984, no. 29, ill. p. 75

Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Classics of Modern Art, 27 June - 19 September 1999, pp. 70-75, ill. p. 71, illustrated on the cover

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, Vincent’s Choice: Van Gogh’s Musée Imaginaire, 2003, 14 February-15 June 2003, illustrated on the invitation and the exhibition guide

Literature

Kunst und Kunstler, vol. XII, 1914, ill. p. 591

Julius Meier-Graefe, Vincent, Munich, 1921, vol. 2, ill. p. 23

Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub, Vincent van Gogh, Munich, 1922, ill.

Willem Sherjon and Willem Josiah de Gruyter, Vincent van Gogh’s Great Period: Arles, Saint-Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, Amsterdam, 1937, no. 32

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, Vincent van Gogh, Paris, London, New York, 1939, no. IX, ill. pp. 336-337

Ludwig Goldscheider and Wilhelm Uhde, Vincent van Gogh, His Paintings and Drawings, London and Oxford, 1947, no. 25, ill.

John Rewald, Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin, New York, 1956, ill. p. 228

Jacob-Baart de la Faille, The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings, New York, revised edition, 1970, no. 410, ill. p. 193

Walter Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin. The Reception of Vincent van Gogh in Germany from 1901 to 1912, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Zwolle, 1988, p. 92

Ingo F. Walther and Rainer Metzger, Vincent van Gogh, The Complete Paintings, Cologne, 1990, vol. 2, ill. p. 341

Vincent van Gogh: Correspondance générale, ed. Georges Charensol, Paris, 1990, vol. 3, p. 112, 118, drawings of the present work illustrated on pp. 113, 119

Jan Hulsker, The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches, revised and enlarged edition of the Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1996, no. 1426, ill. p. 323

Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers, Hong Kong, 1999, ill. p. 60

Vincent Van Gogh, Painted with Words, The Letters to Émile Bernard, ed. Leo Jansen, Hans Luitjen and Nienke Bakker, New York, 2007, ill. p. 158

Belinda Thomson, Van Gogh Painter - The Masterpieces, Amsterdam and Brussels, 2007, no. 81, ill. p. 90

N. Ex, “De Brieven Van Vincent van Gogh”, Hollands Diep, September - October 2009, ill. pp. 96-97

Current location
Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
Floor 1st
Tour Guide Code
103
Audio Guide
Vincent van Gogh
(1853 - 1890)
Gender
Man
Nationality
Dutch
First Name
Vincent Willem
Last Name
van Gogh
Birth
Zundert, Netherlands, 1853
Death
Auvers-sur-Oise, France, 1890