Grapes, Lemons, Pears, and Apples, 1887
A work made of oil on canvas.
Oil on canvas
46.5 × 55.2 cm (18 1/4 × 21 3/4 in.)
Gift of Kate L. Brewster
This is one of a group of related canvases featuring seasonal fruit that Vincent van Gogh painted in the fall of 1887. In these works, he simplified his palette, employed more vibrant colors, and used a thicker, broader paint application than he had earlier. Here he explored the use of complementary colors—yellow and purple, blue and orange, and red and green—in the service of chromatic intensity. The effect of these color contrasts is heightened by the pulsating pattern of brushstrokes that defines the tablecloth and creates a force field around the fruit. The painting was probably among the “violent still lifes”—to quote Van Gogh’s friend the painter Emile Bernard—that he included in the group exhibition of young avant-garde artists that he organized at a local restaurant in November–December 1887.