La maison de La Crau (The Old Mill)

Vincent van Gogh1888

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Buffalo, New York, United States

In February 1888, Vincent van Gogh left the cold, dreary winter in Paris and moved to the town of Arles. There, inspired by the variegation and light of southern France, he created more than two hundred paintings in fifteen months, including “The Old Mill.” Van Gogh depicted the mill, popularly known as tabatière or Jonquet, using a thick application of paint, exaggerated angles, and vibrant effects. Van Gogh was one of the first artists to free color from a merely descriptive function. Objects did not have to be reproduced on the canvas as they were seen in real life. Instead, he used color to express his feelings about the subject. A lapis-painted mountain range against a sea foam sky represents his joy in the beauty, light, and warmth of the south. Although van Gogh was often criticized for working too quickly, the careful brushwork of this painting reveals otherwise; you can clearly see where he varied the direction of his paint to delineate different parts of the landscape. Van Gogh once wrote that he thought about each painting at length in advance, thus he could work fairly quickly when he finally began to paint. His response to criticism was, “When anyone says that such and such is done too quickly . . . they have looked at it too quickly.”


  • Title: La maison de La Crau (The Old Mill)
  • Creator: Vincent van Gogh
  • Date Created: 1888
  • Physical Dimensions: support: 25 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches (64.77 x 53.975 cm); framed: 32 3/4 x 28 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches (83.18 x 73.02 x 8.89 cm)
  • Contributor: Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966 (1966:9.22)
  • Rights: The copyright status of this artwork is believed to be held in public domain. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is mindful of its responsibilities concerning the intellectual property rights of others, and works to protect images of artworks that are believed to be under copyright or to have other restrictions imposed by contract or policy. While the museum makes every effort to accurately determine the rights status of artworks and images of those artworks, the information provided may not be up to date. Any statement on the public domain status of a work is made by the museum in good faith. If you have any information on the rights status of a work contrary to or in addition to the information listed here, or if you are the copyright owner and believe the AK has not properly attributed your work or has used it without your authorization, please contact the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at digitalassets@albrightknox.org.
  • External Link: More information about the artwork is available here.
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Image Information: Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
  • Artist's Nationality: Dutch, active in France
  • Artist's Death Year: 1890
  • Artist's Birth Year: 1853

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