Monday, March 23, 2009

Portrait of Joseph Roulin - Vincent van Gogh

Price in US $ - 58,000,000


“A good soul and so wise and so full of feeling and so trustful." Thus Vincent van Gogh described his friend Joseph-Etienne Roulin, a postal worker in Arles (France), where Van Gogh lived from 1888 to 1889. In letters and pictures, Van Gogh idealized Roulin, regarding him as both a man of the people and a sage.

The artist was fascinated by Roulin's physiognomy. The face, which he deemed Socratic because of the shortened nose, was flushed with a high coloration van Gogh attributed to heavy drinking and was garlanded with an abundant salt-and-pepper beard. Roulin was an ardent socialist, vehement in his support of the left wing of French republican politics. Perhaps more importantly for the lonely and isolated van Gogh, Roulin was also the devoted father of a large family.

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