Shoes (1886)

Van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)

Shoes (F 255, JH 1124)
Oil on canvas, 38.1 cm x 45.3 cm
Van Gogh MuseumAmsterdam

Worn-out shoes were an unusual choice of subject for a painting. An acquaintance of Van Gogh‘s in Paris described how he bought old work shoes at a flea market. Then he walked through the mud in them until they were filthy. Only then did he feel they were interesting enough to paint. Van Gogh made a number of still lifes of this subject.

He painted Shoes over another picture: a view from his brother Theo‘s apartment. Van Gogh used the same canvas more than once on other occasions too. It was a way of saving money. (VGM)