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Van Gogh | Fishing in spring the Pont de Clichy (Asnieres), 1887

In this canvas, Vincent uses pointillist like dabs and his own developing thick dashes of yellows, lavender and greens to portray a locale commonly chosen by the impressionists, the Seine around Asnieres. A fisherman with blue pants, yellow brown shirt and black hat with pole resting in his right hand on his black outlined leg is fishing in the Seine below with the Pont de Clichy in the background.
The Seine is depicted in lateral strokes of blue from cobalt to sky blue in the foreground and lighter blues to white beyond the fisherman. The lavender and prussian blue strokes are repeated in the foreground water, the fisherman’s pants and the under arch of the bridge.

Reflections of the river’s bank are accomplished with multihued vertical strokes coming at the viewer with lavender and cobalt at top left and then greens and peach and blue vertical strokes at center right.
The green, yellow and blue boats are moored between brown vertically stroked wavy poles driven into the river bottom and look like man’s humble use of the carefully constructed tree trunk Vincent depicts at left.
Two trunks have been cut and we can see the bare trunk tops in yellow while the red and green and black dots and horizontal dashes give the tree detail and character and a life-like emotion as it lends a comforting shade to the pastoral scene. While vague figures cross the bridge in the distance and the green and yellow flashes of the leaves frame our fisherman, he is in a quiet and tranquil harbor and is peacefully awaiting his catch.
The painting hangs at the Art Institute in Chicago, here are some of their words on the work:
“In technique, Fishing in Spring is a testament to Vincent van Gogh’s friendship with Paul Signac**. Van Gogh had seen works by Signac and George Seurat** in the spring of 1886 at the final Impressionist exhibition. Signac was an eloquent spokesman for Seurat’s pioneering Neo-Impressionism**, explaining it as a natural development of Impressionism. Under Signac’s influence, Van Gogh’s palette brightened, his brushstrokes became more varied, and his subject matter expanded. The setting of this work is the Seine River at the Pont de Clichy, near Asnières, where Van Gogh and Signac painted together on several occasions”.
Vincent would later help to have Seurat and Signac**’s paintings exhibited at Le Tambourin alongside his own and all three were allowed to show at the XXX in January of 1887 in an entry salon. This painting is not mentioned in any of Vincent or Theo’s letters so we cannot know what Vincent thought of it precisely.
Though the bridge has changed, the location of Vincent’s perspective for this work can be found today.  It is just off the Quai de Clichy across the Seine from Asnieres.
Oil on Canvas,
Art Institute of Chicago,
Spring 1887