How Monticelli influenced Vincent Van Gogh

Viewing Room

Adolphe Monticelli is generally seen as the archetypal misunderstood genius who provided a steppingstone for modern painters such as the Fauves and even abstract art. He influenced Cézanne in the use of thicker paint and painterly freedom, the two artists often roaming the Aix-en-Provence countryside and painting landscapes together.

Adolphe Monticelli | Le poste à feu à Cassis | 1882 ca | oil on panel | 40.5 x 64.5 cm

His thickly painted and spontaneous approach prefigured that of van Gogh, who greatly admired his work after seeing it in Paris when he arrived there in 1886.

Van Gogh immediately adopted a brighter palette and a bolder attack, and later remarked to the French art critic Albert Aurier:

“[Monticelli] is – as far as I know – the only painter who perceives the coloration of things with such intensity, with such a metallic, gem-like quality – if you will please go and see a particular bouquet […] in white, forget-me-not blue and orange, then you will feel what I mean” and “I sometimes think I am really continuing that man.”
Adophe Monticelli | Bouquet de fleurs | 1882 ca | oil on linen | 31 x 22 cm

Van Gogh and his brother Theo collected his work and in 1890, were instrumental in publishing the first book about Monticelli.

Adolphe Monticelli | Femme au banc | 1882 ca | oil on panel | 27 x 40 cm