Title: Field with Flowers near Arles
Dimension: 54x65 cm
Van Gogh was captivated by the colours of the landscape around the town of Arles. He particularly loved the contrast between the yellow and purple flower fields. In the landscape, he felt he could see a reflection of the world he knew from his collection of Japanese prints. Japanese artists used big areas of colour in their compositions, often with a sharp diagonal. They also regularly zoomed in on a detail in the foreground. Van Gogh adopted these elements in his paintings. “Like a Japanese dream,” he wrote in a letter to his brother Theo. He also included a sketch noting the main colours so that Theo could imagine the work. Recently the painting was examined and restored. The studies showed that not all the colours were what they had once been. The red pigments in particular had faded over the years from exposure to light. The conservator discovered this when she viewed the painting without the frame. The irises which had been partially concealed by the frame were much more of a purple colour. Not having been exposed to so much light, they had retained their original colour better. During the restoration work, the old discoloured varnish layer which had dulled the colours was removed. The colours are now much brighter.