Tarascon Stage Coach (Tarascon Diligence)

Tarascon Stage Coach (Tarascon Diligence)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
Tarascon Stage Coach, 1888
Oil on canvas
71.4 x 92.5 cm. (28 1/8 x 36 7/16 in.)

Critical Perspective

"You used to have a very fine Claude Monet showing four colored boats on a beach. Well, here they are carriages, but the composition is the same in style."
-Vincent van Gogh to his brother, Theo, October 13, 1888

The drama of his mental illness and tragic suicide sometimes overshadows Van Gogh's sophistication as an artist. As this passage from one of his many letters to his brother suggests, he was a thoughtful craftsman, who, like the Impressionists, painted outdoors and demonstrated a mastery of legible brushstrokes, complex compositional devices, and a brilliant palette. At the same time, however, he transformed their style in his own distinctive way - by applying paint in thick marks, crosshatched strokes, and flowing lines of intense color.

In 1895 the legendary Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard included "Tarascon Diligence" in an exhibition of the artist's work. Although the show was not a commercial success, it was significant as the first major posthumous Van Gogh exhibition. 

Van Gogh writes about Tarascon Diligence in his correspondence: