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Vincent Portrait Sketch VII - With Cat

Vincent Portrait Sketch VII - With Cat

By Chloe Cumming


Pastel, soft casein and graphite pencil on cold pressed heavyweight watercolour paper  

Original artwork

Framed - both the same size and frame

Image size: H: 19cm x W: 19cm

Framed size: H: 39 x W:39cm


This portrait of Vincent van Gogh is from a new 2023 series of painted and drawn works by Norfolk-based Chloe Cumming. These sensitive drawings have an energy and expression in the mark-making and colour palette. The scribble style -  a technique sometimes called “gesture drawing” - is perfect to convey impressions and thoughts, an almost unconscious, intuitive capturing of features and personality traits.


Chloe created the first of this series of haunting portraits to mark the 2022 Van Gogh show at The Courtauld, London. The show took, as its springboard, van Gogh’s iconic 'Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear', one of the most celebrated works in The Courtauld’s collection, and brought together, for the first time, half of the self-portraits he created during his short years as a painter.


Chloe's intriguing 21st-century versions are drawn or painted in acrylic and casein, on board. They are intense and hugely demonstrative in their marks - utterly fascinating and intriguing, in fact. Like The Courtauld, she offers us another chance to connect with this much misunderstood artist. 

It's also interesting to see a female view of him, echoing the often-overlooked role played by Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, the artist’s sister-in-law, who publicised his importance after his death and almost single-handedly steered the market for his works.


"I do feel a kinship with him. There’s something about the urgency of the way he worked and the relentless, visceral connection to feeling, which is what allows his art to resonate now, in part. There’s also something about the warmth of his colours and the depiction of warmth and heat - the need for warmth, the need for connection through art, when connecting with people is challenging and often painful, as it was for him."


    After many years of creativity, in which she has built up a following of collecters, Chloe makes her art gallery debut at Spencer House Gallery this winter.


    She is an unusual draughtswoman and observer of life. Her art output is prolific, as much a release and expression of her own thoughts and emotions as an outpouring of recurring figurative and symbolic motifs and figures.


    She tries to find something alive and beautiful in mundane or  downtrodden objects or figures - hence her toilet and traffic cone collections. She is attracted by taboo subjects or by the notion that places or things are not celebrated or acceptable in 'polite society'.


    Her interest in Vincent van Gogh - and, hence, her many depictions of him - is prompted by her  drive to express the man behind the myth and the social and emotional barriers he faced. Like him, her own painting style is defiantly idiosyncratic and independent of any movement or genre.


    In some of her more aggressive and vivid images, one can detect energetic and frenetic aspects of Francis Bacon, combined with a range of surreal and haunting elements and narratives of her own making.


    She has a Fine Art degree from Kent Insititute of Art & Design and works from the studio at her Norwich home.

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