View from Montmartre, 1886


The picture belongs to a group of four views of Paris, all taken in 1886 and known as "les toits de Paris" (the roofs of Paris). It is one of the first paintings to show how Van Gogh approaches the big city and how he makes its characteristics a focal point of contemporary art. In spring 1886, after studying painting and drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts, he left Antwerp for Paris. Here he entered Fernand Cormon's studio for four months. In June he moved to his brother Theo in an apartment on Rue Lepic in Montmartre and set up a studio there. This is probably where the four views were created.
In an unusually bright palette for the previous oeuvre of van Gogh, the painting opens up a panoramic view from the Montmartre hill to the south: In the middle you can see "Le Radet" on the left edge of the picture, one of the three mills that were still in operation at that time. To the left of the center of the picture rise the towers of Notre-Dame, the domes of the Pantheon and the Val-de-Grâce church, to the right the opera, further in front the Trinité and above the towers of St. Clothilde and the dome of the Invalides.


Vincent van Gogh, View from Montmartre, 1886

Kunstmuseum Basel, online collection 04.09.2019

Vincent van Gogh | Vue de Paris, prise de Montmartre