Still Life with Quinces, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh

One of the most striking aspects of Van Gogh was his ability to absorb and appreciate a wide range of influences, and take these and mould them into his own form. He never became affiliated with one particular group, but drifted between the different art circles, which in part reflects his very eclectic approach to his art. The Impressionists, for example, would not dream of mixing with the Pointillists (with the exception of Camille Pissarro) and the Pointillists were averse to the Cloisonnists, and so on, with the exception of Van Gogh whose style could then be seen as simply universally avant-garde.

Van Gogh had become familiar with paintings of Paul Cezanne, primarily through the art shop owned by Pere Tangug, Van Gogh admired his painting, though this was not reciprocated, and there is something of Cezanne in this still life. Here, however, Van Gogh has combined a highly realistic depiction of the softly moulded quinces with on individualistic painting of the cloth on which they sit. His short sharp strokes of colour in the foreground suggest a shifting bright light and evoke a sense of pattern.