La Mousme is a painting by Vincent van Gogh, which features a portrait of a young Provençale girl named Madame Chrysanthème inspired him. The artwork depicts La Mousme in traditional southern Provence clothing, infused with modern elements and bright colors found in Arles. Van Gogh’s use of bold complementary colors portrays his empathy towards the subject.
The significance of La Mousme holding oleander buds is still unclear but may be related to the artist’s pantheistic beliefs in natural cycles of birth and renewal. This painting is part of one of several portrait studies that moved Van Gogh deeply, describing it as something that “excites him to the depths of his soul” and makes him feel infinite more than anything else.
La Mousme currently resides at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where art enthusiasts can observe it up close. It reflects Van Gogh’s unique style through its vibrant color palette and expressive brushstrokes. Its composition draws inspiration from Japanese art, notably Katsushika Hokusai’s prints that he admired during this time.
Van Gogh created La Mousme during an incredibly prolific period in his artistic career when he was heavily influenced by Japanese aesthetics, which are apparent in other works like Starry Night Over the Rhone. Overall, La Mousme remains one of his most beloved portraits because it personifies how he uses vivid hues to convey passion and admiration for his subjects while fusing different cultural influences into a harmonious whole.