top of page

Vincent Van Gogh

the Arlesienne


Working with...and in spite of the other

His friend Paul Gauguin had just joined him in Arles, and together they asked Marie Ginoux, owner of the Café de la Gare, to pose for them. The interested party

              accepts and finds them dressed in her

              traditional costume. But of both

              artists it is the charismatic Gauguin who

              has his favors: she sits opposite him and the

              look into your eyes as he des-

             sine his charcoal portrait. Van Gogh,

             deported to the side of the stage, must

             content with an oblique view of the Arlé-

             his: in an hour he therefore brushes this

             touching portrait, which must paradoxically

             its charm and originality to the embarrassment

             caused by the presence of Gauguin

This Arles woman from 1889 occupies a special place among the portraits of Vincent Van Gogh. Whereas up to now the artist has always painted his models frontally, with direct visual contact which

gave their gaze a striking intensity.

health, he represents here a woman almost

in profile, staring into space, like

surprise in full reverie. The intensity of

face-to-face thus leaves room, as

never before with Van Gogh, at the char-

me of mystery and melancholy.

If the painter breaks here so firmly with

his habits as a portrait painter, it is absolutely

read not by choice, but by constraint.

Paul Gauguin

L'Arlesienne , 1889

What we can take away:

Working in a team involves giving up personal comfort to accommodate the presence of others, their habits and requirements. This constraint, sometimes badly experienced, is nevertheless fertile because it forces us to disconnect our automatic pilot to consider new ways of working. "  Hell is other people  said Sartre, but sometimes it's good...

Related topic: Cooperation
Search by artist
bottom of page