Le Moulin de la Galette (Van Gogh series)

For Auguste Renoir's painting, see Bal du moulin de la Galette. For the windmill and cabaret, see Moulin de la Galette.
Le Moulin de la Galette (F348a)
Artist Vincent van Gogh
Year 1886
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 46 cm × 38 cm (18 in × 15 in)
Location Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Le Moulin de la Galette is the subject and title of several paintings made by Vincent van Gogh in 1886 of a windmill. The Moulin de la Galette was near Van Gogh's apartment with his brother, Theo in Montmartre. The owners of the windmill maximized the view on a butte overlooking Paris, creating a terrace for viewing and a dance hall for entertainment. The windmill paintings are a subset of paintings from Montmartre (Van Gogh series).


In 1886 van Gogh left the Netherlands for Paris and the guidance of his brother Theo van Gogh. While van Gogh had been influenced by great Dutch masters, coming to Paris meant that he would have the opportunity to be influenced by Impressionists, Symbolists, Pointillists, and Japanese art. His circle of friends included Émile Bernard, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others.[1]

Montmartre, sitting on a butte overlooking Paris, was known for its bars, cafes, and dance-hall. It was also located on the edge of countryside that afforded van Gogh the opportunity to work on paintings of rural settings while living in Paris.[2]

The landscape and windmills around Montmartre were the source of inspiration for a number of van Gogh's paintings. Moulin de la Galette, still standing, is located near the apartment that van Gogh shared with his brother Theo from 1886 until 1888. Built in 1622, it was originally called Blute-Fin and belonged to the Debray family in the 19th century. Van Gogh met artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac and Paul Gauguin who inspired him to incorporate Impressionism into his artwork that, among other things, resulted in lighter, more colorful works of art.[3]

Moulin de la Galette was also the name of an outdoor dance hall that was located between two of the last windmills on a Montmartre hilltop. In addition to van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pierre-Auguste Renoir also painted Moulin de la Galette.[4] Renoir's painting of the dance hall is titled Bal du moulin de la Galette.

The paintings

Three paintings with similar compositions

In van Gogh’s first year in Paris he painted rural areas around Montmartre, such as the butte and its windmills. The colors are somber and evoke a sense of his anxiety and loneliness.[5]

Other paintings titled Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette, also called The Blute-Fin Windmill, Montmartre (F274) reflects van Gogh's artistic transition from his work in the Netherlands which was somber and heavy. Influenced by Impressionism, van Gogh's painted this work with lighter colors and unrestrained brushstrokes to capture light and movement. Van Gogh made the painting from an empty lot on rue Lepic, the street in which he lived with Theo. The painting features the Moulin de Blute-Fin, a 17th-century grain-mill, which was an attraction for its views of Paris. At this time there were three windmills on the butte, but this was the windmill van Gogh favored as a subject for his paintings. Moulin a Poivre, a second windmill, is just inside the left frame of the painting on the horizon. The painting was sold by Scottish art dealer Alex Reid to William McInnes and with van Gogh's Portrait of Alexander Reid is in the collection of Glasgow Museums.[2]

Le Moulin de la Galette (F348) is an example how van Gogh used a technique for heavily applying paint called impasto that it created a relief effect, partly to convey emotion. The brushstrokes in the windmill and doorsteps are noticeable. The faces of the two people were created with just a couple of brushstrokes.[6]

Blute-Fin windmill paintings

In addition to Le Moulin de la Galette (F274), which is also named The Blute-Fin Windmill, Montmartre, there are several other paintings with the name Blute-Fin.

Other windmill paintings

Here are the images of paintings from van Gogh's period in Paris that include windmills:


  1. Wallace, R (1969). of Time-Life Books, ed. The World of Van Gogh (1853–1890). Alexandria, VA, USA: Time-Life Books. pp. 40, 69.
  2. 1 2 Hamilton, V; Kelvingrove Museum; Art Gallery (2002). Millet to Matisse: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century French painting from. New Haven and London: Yale University Press with Glasgow Museums. pp. 104–105. ISBN 0-902752-65-0.
  3. Mroue, H (1999). Frommer's Memorable Walks in Paris. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing Inc. p. 123. ISBN 0-471-77648-3.
  4. Williams, E (1999). Picasso's Paris: walking tours of the artist's life in the city. New York: The Little Bookroom. p. 19. ISBN 0-9641262-7-3.
  5. Galbally, A (2008). A remarkable friendship: Vincent van Gogh and John Peter Russell. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-5228-5376--6.
  6. Estefanía, L (2005). A Visit to Buenos Aires National Museum of Fine Arts. Buenos Aires: Editorial Albatros SACI. p. 33. ISBN 978-950-24-1171-2.
  7. Art Daily Van Gogh Experts Authenticate Unusual Painting Now on View at Museum de Fundatie
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.