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Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

6 Paintings of Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh created several “Fishing Boat and Seascape” paintings and drawings at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in 1888.

When he lived in Arles, he took a 30-mile stagecoach trip to the sea-side fishing village where he made several paintings and drawings of the seascape and town.

Our Virtual Tour includes:

“Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh – Van Gogh Museum

“Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries” was painted in June 1888, when Van Gogh went to the fishing village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Van Gogh took a week-long trip to recover from his health problems and to paint and draw the seaside.

Van Gogh preferred to have painted on the beach, but the fishermen left early every day, so he had to draw quickly, and later, he painted in his room. He wrote to his brother, Theo:

“I made the drawing of the boats when I left very early in the morning,
and I am now working on a painting based on it,
a size 30 canvas with more sea and sky on the right.
It was before the boats hastened out;
I had watched them every morning.”

The fishing boats are painted in uniform areas of color, which are filled in within solid contour lines. Compared to the beach and water, they appear two-dimensional. There are no shadows on the sand. Van Gogh was using elements from his collection of Japanese prints.

Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries

  • Title:                      Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries
  • Deutsch:                Fischerboote am Strand von Saintes-Maries
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                     1888
  • Medium:               Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:         Height: 65 cm (25.5 in); Width: 81.5 cm (32 in)
  • Museum:              Van Gogh Museum

“Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

“Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

“Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh is a watercolor on paper of the same composition as the previous oil painting. The complementary, contrasting colors bring a higher intensity to this work.

This watercolor version demonstrates Van Gogh’s effective use and increasing confidence in using pairs of complementary or contrasting colors.

Van Gogh later writes about the liveliness and interplay of the colors as:

“a wedding of two complementary colors, their mingling and opposition, the mysterious vibrations of two kindred souls.”

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is situated in the Rhône River delta, about 1 km east of the mouth of the Petit Rhône distributary. In 1888, Van Gogh made several paintings of the seascape and the town. At that time, Saintes-Maries was a small fishing village with under a hundred homes.

“Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

  • Title:                      Boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                      1888
  • Medium:               watercolor on paper
  • Dimensions:         Height: 40.4 cm (15.9 in); Width: 55.5 cm (21.8 in)
  • Museum:               Hermitage Museum

“Seascape at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

“Seascape at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

“Seascape at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh shows the artist’s fascination with the variable color of the sea. His composition emphasized the boat’s fragility against the stormy water.

This painting captures visually the following quote by Van Gogh:

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

Van Gogh stayed in Saint-Marie, for five days, and he executed three oil paintings and nine drawings. His emotional experience is best embodied in this picture, which is written in paint, by replicating his windy views of the sea.

“Seascape at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

  • Title:                      Seascape at Saintes-Maries
  • Also:                      Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                      June 1888
  • Medium:               oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:          Height: 44 cm (17.3 in); Width: 53 cm (20.8 in)
  • Museum:               Pushkin Museum

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh was another seascape in which he sought to capture light’s effect on the sea. He wrote that the:

“The Mediterranean Sea is a mackerel color: in other words, changeable – you do not always know whether it is green or purple, you do not always know if it is blue, as the next moment the ever-changing sheen has assumed a pink or a gray tint.”

The painting depicts fishing boats returning to the village.  Van Gogh applied these colors with a palette knife, neatly capturing the effect of the light through the waves.

In addition to the blue and white that he brushed onto the canvas with bold strokes, he used green and yellow for the waves.

To emphasize contrast to the color green in the painting, Van Gogh signed his name in large bright red letters.

Van Gogh painted this view from the beach, as grains of sand have been found in the paint layers.

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

  • Title:                      Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries
  • Deutsch:                Fischerboote bei Saintes-Maries
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                       June 1888
  • Medium:                Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:          50.5 cm x 64.3 cm
  • Museum:               Van Gogh Museum

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” by Vincent van Gogh

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” by Vincent van Gogh is a reed pen drawing demonstrating the fluid movements of Van Gogh’s pen.

The drawing has a unique life and energy created by the reed pen and by the tiered-patterned strokes reflecting the influence of Japanese prints. The Pointillist dotted sky accentuates the clouds.

Whitecaps are evoked by the vertical lines and horizontal lines portray the calmer sea in the distance.

“Fishing Boats at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” by Vincent van Gogh

  • Title:                      Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries
  • Deutsch:               Fischerboote bei Saintes-Maries
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                     August 1888
  • Medium:               pen and Indian ink over pencil on paper
  • Dimensions:         Height: 24.4 cm (9.6 in); Width: 31.9 cm (12.5 in)
  • Museum:               Saint Louis Art Museum

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

Fishing Boats and Seascape at Saintes-Maries by Vincent van Gogh

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh depicts the return of the fishing fleet using a reed pen and ink.

The high horizon plus the boats positioned close to the top edge of the frame, draw the audience into the choppy sea. Late Vincent van Gogh would write:

“There is peace even in the storm.”

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

  • Title:                       Boats at Saintes-Maries
  • Français:                 Bateaux à Saintes Maries.
  • Artist:                     Vincent van Gogh
  • Year: August 1888
  • Medium:                Reed pen and ink over graphite on wove paper
  • Dimensions:          Height: 24.3 cm (9.5 in); Width: 31.9 cm (12.5 in)
  • Museum:                Guggenheim Museum

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime and was considered a madman and a failure.

He created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life.

They were characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive, and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art.

Farmhouse in Provence

  • Title:                      Farmhouse in Provence
  • Alternative:           Entrance Gate to a Farm with Haystacks
  • Artist:                    Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                     1888
  • Medium:               Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:          Height: 46.1 cm (18.1 in); Width: 60.9 cm (23.9 in)
  • Museum:              National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Vincent van Gogh

~~~

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
– Vincent van Gogh

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Paul Gauguin / Public domain

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