Turf Huts, 1883 by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's cousin Mauve gave the artist his first lessons in oil painting, and it was a medium that he would come to embrace. However, at this early stage of his career, still lacking confidence in his painterly skills and the expense of oil paints made embarking on a full-scale painting project a precarious venture. Although Van Gogh had sold several drawings, he was not in a position to support himself and was being financially aided by his brother Theo, He had immediately recognized the scope that oil painting offered, and wrote with enthusiasm of the clarity of colour that this medium afforded. Even though his works such as this sombre landscape remained essentially dark in tone, he was already starting to experiment with colour, reflected here in the soft glow of the sky. This work is broadly painted and strongly horizontal with simplified forms, oil of which were consistent with his landscape works of this time. Interestingly the evolution of Van Gogh's style can be linked to the different areas where he lived and with each move his art changed perceptibly.