“After some time your vision changes, you see with a more Japanese eye, you feel colour differently. I’m also convinced that it’s precisely through a long stay here that I’ll bring out my personality” Van Gogh
This piece evolved from experimenting with copper, rose and gold leaf. Pleased with how this turned out. The tree shape definitely has echoes of Japanese art. I do like my work to embody dynamism yet stillness.
I’ve always held a deep fascination for Japanese artwork, from the oldest surviving silkscreen painting, the magnificent 18th century woodblock prints, to Japan’s most famous modern artist, Yayoi Kusama. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy exhibitions of Japanese art here in London, Kyoto and in Tokyo. And who doesn’t love a Japanese garden!
In Japan, an image of a natural scene is not just a landscape, but rather a portrait of the sacred world. Japanese artists often left the middle ground of their compositions empty while the objects in the foreground were sometimes enlarged. They regularly excluded the horizon, too or abruptly cropped the elements of the picture at the edge.
Van Gogh wanted to respond to a more modern, more primitive type of painting. Japanese prints with their expanses of colour and stylisation, showed him the way, without having to give up nature as his starting point.