La Mousme (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

La Mousme - Vincent Van Gogh - 1888

Artwork Information

TitleLa Mousme
ArtistVincent Van Gogh
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions23 x 60.5 cm
Art MovementJaponism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Location Created Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

About La Mousme

The artwork “La Mousme” is a creation of the illustrious artist Vincent Van Gogh, completed in 1888. As an oil on canvas portrait, it measures 73.3 by 60.5 cm and is currently housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Created in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, the painting is indicative of the Japonism art movement, characterized by the influence of Japanese art on European artists.

The artwork depicts a young girl seated, her posture relaxed yet upright, lending an air of contemplative serenity. The subject is dressed in a colorful attire that embraces the essence of Japonism with its pattern play and rich, vibrant hues. She is adorned in a striped, crimson and blue garment, paired with a skirt that sports a similarly vivid design. An element of quaint charm is added by the red ribbon adorning her hair, which matches the red buttons lining her blouse.

Van Gogh’s use of dynamic brushstrokes instills a sense of life and movement within the portrait, while his choice of contrasting colors creates a compelling visual harmony. The model’s expression is captured with a delicate balance of precision and emotion, her gaze reflecting a subtle depth of character. The setting is simplified, with an emphasis on the model and her immediate surroundings, allowing the viewer’s attention to remain fixed on the intricacies of her costume and the subtle interplay of light and texture.

In “La Mousme,” Van Gogh’s fascination with Japanese art is evident through his stylistic choices, which include a bold color palette and a certain flatness of form reminiscent of Japanese prints. The artwork stands as a testament to the cross-cultural inspirations that influenced much of European art during the late 19th century, reflecting a unique blend of Western and Eastern artistic traditions.

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