Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) both experimented with the expressive possibilities of color and line to create distinct personal styles of painting. Working in France at the end of the 19th century, the two friends inspired each other during a nine-week period in the autumn of 1888.

In February of that year, Van Gogh moved to the peaceful town of Arles in the south of France. He dreamed of creating a “studio of the south” where a group of artists could work and live as a community. He invited his friend and fellow painter Gauguin to join him. Van Gogh transformed his yellow house into an artist’s studio in anticipation. Gauguin finally moved to Arles in October of 1888.

Although they learned from each other’s techniques and produced many works side by side, Van Gogh’s stubborn nature and Gauguin’s pride and arrogance made their life together difficult. After nine weeks, a passionate argument caused Van Gogh to have a mental breakdown, and Gauguin returned to Paris. Despite the unhappy ending to the “studio of the south,” the two painters remained friends, and they wrote letters to each other until Van Gogh died two years later.

Even though they had different personalities, the two artists shared some things in common:

  • Both were essentially self-taught artists.
  • They both left city life in Paris in search of nature.
  • Both admired the brilliant color, simplified forms, and unconventional compositions of Japanese prints.
  • Each painted a variety of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.
  • Neither achieved fame until after his death, yet their works greatly influenced twentieth-century artists.

Although Van Gogh and Gauguin were influenced by impressionism, they were not satisfied with merely capturing the visual effects of nature and instead sought to create meaning beyond surface appearances, that is, to paint with emotion and intellect as well as with the eye.


Come feast your eyes, enjoy uplifting music and enrich the soul during the Muse festival on 24 September when a film about these two painters, Van Gogh and Gauguin, Painters of Colour, offers a fascinating journey into their worlds and their different ways of using colour.

The other film that will be shown, Monet, Renoir … Chagall, Journey around the Mediterranean, covers the works of 16 painters – Vernet, Monet, Renoir, Signac, Cross, Matisse, Valtat, Vlaminck, Derain, Camoin, Marquet, Manguin, Friesz, Bonnard, Dufy and Chagall – all drawn to the Mediterranean coasts and the bright, warm and contrasting colours it presented to them. The aim of the show is for visitors to immerse themselves in multiple pictorial worlds, without necessarily knowing or recognising everything or everyone.

Both films will be projected onto a huge screen, shown under the stars for a truly magical art experience. Contact Laurette 082 820 1925 for tickets.