Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890
Amid the poplars, entangled by the floral undergrowth, two lovers stand arm in arm. Their faces disappear into the forest floor. Painted the month before his death, Vincent van Gogh’s Undergrowth with Two Figures bears a haunting quality. This painting, however, was once more lively. In his later years, Van Gogh took risks with vibrant colors that were known to fade, among them the pigment geranium lake. From descriptions in his letters and through modern scans, we know that cheery pink flowers—now white—swayed amid the grasses, and those columnar blue trunks were once violet.
Though Van Gogh’s hues have cooled, lost to time, Undergrowth with Two Figures is widely considered one of his masterpieces.