Moored Boats, 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

One of the first pointers to befriend Van Gogh in Paris was the amiable Camille Pissarro, whose son Lucien also become friendly with the difficult artist. Pissarro, who was one of the founding Impressionists, was nonetheless very progressive in his approach to art, and had absorbed the theories of Seurat and Signac, both of whom Van Gogh came to admire greatly.

This painting with its wonderful array of colours, many of which seem to have materialized from a soft purple, calls to mind the works of all these artists. Van Gogh has in this instance tempered his brushwork, which was characteristically very tangible and expressive. There is a restraint in his application of point and communion of colours that suggests his experimentation with the ideas of Signac. He has used washes of colour enlivened with short, sharp and contained brushstrokes seen in the spiky foliage in the foreground and to denote the shifting water that reflects the atmospheric sky. It is a particularly peaceful painting for the artist and was done at a time when he was regularly painting alongside Signac at Asnieres,