GOGH, Vincent van
(b. 1853, Groot Zundert, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise)

Portrait of Armand Roulin

November 1888, Arles
Oil on canvas, 65 x 54 cm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Catalogue numbers: F 493, JH 1643.

Van Gogh painted two portraits of the Roulin's seventeen-year-old son, Armand. Both were completed in November 1888 but neither on the size of canvas originally planned. One shows a young man in profile, dressed in a dark blue suit and matching hat; the other, probably the first version, presents Armand Roulin full face, in a citrine jacket and contrasting hat and waistcoat of blue. Both paintings are very simple in their composition, presenting the young man without any additional details, decoration or scenery such as are provided in the portraits of the Roulin parents or in others where colour, setting or costume attempt to introduce layered meanings. What is remarkable in both these pictures is the seriousness of expression, which is almost sombre and sad. This effect of the features contrasts with Armand's almost dandyish dress, the rakish angle of his hat, and the carefully painted knotting of his cravat.

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