Van Gogh's Night Cafe & Pollock's Childish Art Notes

Pages: 7 (2040 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  ·  Written: August 1, 2020


I can admire anything by Van Gogh because it is always colorful, spirited, and immensely beautiful. I am always astonished that he was able to paint the world and people so vividly. I like the café scene of the painting as it makes me want to be there and very few paintings actually leap out at you and make you want to be in the painting the way this one does.

11. My Least Favorite

My least favorite is the Cy Twombly painting. There is nothing even to say about this painting other than that it seems ridiculous that a museum should hang it up as though it were important. It is about as bad as the artist who taped a banana on the wall of a museum and called it art—or as bad as the performance artist who then came up, took the banana off the wall and ate it and called it performance art.

Part 2: Who is This Person

Portrait of the Art Dealer Alexander Reid 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh, oil on cardboard

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Who is this person? His name is Alexander Reid, and he was an art dealer known to both Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. Vincent and Alexander had a falling out later in their lives, but when this portrait was painted the two were on sympathetic terms. The sympathy is expressed in Alexander’s face: it is full of concern and also deep in thought. It is as though he sees the joy and magic in his friend, who is painting him, but also feels the anguish and pain that the artist suffers. The painting is vivid and expresses the great zeal and energy that emanates from the individual who appreciates art the way Alexander does, and Vincent seems to be showing his appreciation for that in the portrait.

TOPIC: Notes on Van Gogh's Night Cafe & Pollock's Childish Art Assignment

Van Gogh uses short, bold brush strokes to give the paining a pointillist touch. The brushstrokes provide the line, with horizontal and vertical lines combining to fill out the portrait and the background lines giving a swirling line appearance. The curving lines around the head of Alexander give the portrait a great burst of swirling energy and the orange color is vivid and alive, reflecting the rich spirit of the man’s mind.

Shape in the portrait consists of oval in the head and triangle in the lapels of the collared shirt and coat. The art dealer fills in the positive space of the portrait while the bold swirling orange around his head fills in the negative space. In terms of color, Van Gogh uses hue with great effect: the portrait is done primarily in red-orange and green. The art dealer’s hair and beard are red-orange and this color is repeated in the background, and his coat is green and that color is repeated in the shadow. The value of the painting is medium, as the colors are strong and vibrant but also bold. Its intensity is without question: it is bright and very warm, though the warmth is slightly offset by the green of the coat. The green is not a cool green, however, and is on the warmer side of the spectrum. The value of the color is exceptional: it is not exceedingly bright and thus suggests that the portrait is done in an interior setting. But the intensity and purity of the colors give the painting its own brightness. The colors are not blended on the palate but rather the strokes are side-by-side one another creating a tapestry or spectrum of color that feels as alive as a field of wildflowers.

The texture is expressive mainly because of the short brushstrokes. The strokes are the same no matter whether the subject being painted is a coat, a shirt, or a face—though Van Gogh does take pains to carefully portray the eyes, and so these do not consist of the same thick, short strokes as the face or coat. Van Gogh renders the eyes precisely, which help to give the portrait its humanity.

The portrait is balance, nearly symmetrically but not quite. There is more negative space on the right than on the left, so the balance is somewhat asymmetrical. The emphasis is on the art dealer’s eyes as they peer back at the artist or the viewer. His eyebrows are horizontal but raised, expressing Alexander’s curiosity. The portrait contains a great deal of movement, mainly thanks to the line and brush work of the artist. Van Gogh moves the eye around the head of the subject thanks to the curving brush work that renders the orange background. The eyes of the art dealer lead the eyes of the viewer side to side and the background takes the eyes to the coat and the tie takes the eyes back up to the face of the art dealer. The movement is complete and never static.

Part 3: Who are You?

If I had to choose an artist to create a portrait of me, I would choose Van Gogh. He brings energy, sympathy and understanding to his work. He also uses pure colors, too, and I would like the color of my soul to be identified by Van Gogh. I am not sure what color he would pick, but perhaps it would be blue or purple.

I would like to be portrayed sitting at my desk, glaring at the viewer, or perhaps only frowning. I do not like pictures of people smiling because it usually feels false and forced. I like pictures of people frowning as that seems more authentic. I would wear a t-shirt or perhaps a collared shirt. I would be seated, legs crossed, perhaps my head resting in my hand, my elbow propped on the desk. It would be a meditative pose. My facial expression would be thoughtful but probably also disapproving. I would like the expression to be one that conveys distaste and a bit of scorn. I would want the viewer to feel as though I… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Van Gogh's Night Cafe & Pollock's Childish Art.  (2020, August 1).  Retrieved December 6, 2021, from

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"Van Gogh's Night Cafe & Pollock's Childish Art."  August 1, 2020.  Accessed December 6, 2021.