Father and son Pissarro

In the spring of 1887, the Van Gogh brothers come into contact with Camille Pissarro and his son Lucien. They share a love for neo-impressionism and Japanese prints and become friends. This is also apparent from the dedication to his ‘friend Lucien’ in this still life; the only occasion in his Parisian period that he dedicates a work to an artist from his own time.


Van Gogh uses a light background, probably a white tablecloth, onto which the basket casts a light blue shadow. This creates a subtle contrast with the yellow, green and red tones of the sharply defined apples. The purple, blue and pink colours in the painting have faded slightly, which can be seen along the edge of the canvas where the paint was covered by the frame. The yellow may have been brighter and greener, and the basket may also have been darker.


Behind the table, a wall is painted in the same colour nuances but with vertical brushstrokes. That is exceptional for Van Gogh. He generally places his still lifes against a flat background and surface. Because of this, his still lifes often seem to be floating. That effect can also be seen here, but is more the result of the brushstrokes on the table, which follow the contours of the basket.