Red Vineyards at Arles, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh

Red Vineyards at Arles, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh
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The Red Vineyard at Arles, which Vincent van Gogh was unusually pleased with, is the only work he sold during his lifetime, and was bought for 400 francs by Anna Boch (1848-1936)

In October, 1888 Gauguin arrived in Arles and moved in with Van Gogh, who was beside himself with excitement and dream of starting if not an artists' colony, at the very least a shared studio. Van Gogh had met Gauguin two years previously and was in awe of the slightly older artist, whose own opinion of himself was greatly inflated. The stay ended in disaster culminating in Van Gogh's self-mutilation, but prior to this the two artists had worked on similar projects, and Gauguin's influence can be seen on Van Gogh's paintings of this time. Van Gogh was particularly enraptured with a local vineyard, whose colours were turning to autumnal reds and yellows as the days shortened into autumn. He painted The Red Vineyard, capturing the mellowed tones and glistening light of the early evening sun reflecting in the river, while Gauguin painted Vineyard at Arles with Breton Women, clothing the women in the traditional Breton costume of his home.

On October 2, 1888 Vincent van Gogh sends a letter to Eugene Boch mentioning his project to paint The Red Vineyard, in which he mentioned: "Ah well, I have to go to work in the vineyard, near Mont Majour. It's all purplish yellow green under the blue sky, a beautiful, colour motif."

Letter of Red Vineyards at Arles, 1888 by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh's Letter to Eugene Boch

While painting, Van Gogh was not standing in front of the vineyard, he painted it at the Yellow House completely out of memory and imagination the day after he walked through the nearby Wine plantation.