Holland to Paris
A Pair of Shoes, perhaps painted soon after Van Gogh's move to Paris, still shows the dark colors of his Dutch works. The frontal, close-up view of the worn-out shoes -- often interpreted as a symbolic self-portrait -- also recalls the studies of peasant heads from the previous year.
In January 1894, Paul Gauguin described just such a still life with shoes, which he associated with the artist's departure from Nuenen: "In my small yellow room, a still life, this time violet. Two enormous shoes, worn out, misshapen. Vincent's shoes. The pair he put on one morning when they were still new in order to hike from Holland to Belgium."
List of all objects in this room
Copyright © 2008 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC