Intoxicated by van Gogh

Poison Poppies
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt.

Butterflies and Poppies, 1890 Vincent van Gogh
part of Philadelphia Art Museum exhibition

Butterflies and Poppies is currently part of the exhibition Van Gogh up Close at the Philadelphia Museum of Art but I had been familiar with the painting through reproductions in my art books. Several years ago, I made a study of poppies in this van gogh style. Later, as this style matured and became my own, you can see the lessons I learned from van Gogh and the Japanese influences.

(sold) Copy van Gogh Style as an Exercise

Between them, Vincent and Theo had a considerable collection of Japanese prints. Butterflies and Poppies, demonstrated that the lessons Vincent drew from his study of Japanese prints remained with him. The influences of Japanese art are clearly visible in this decorative floral piece. The close-up of the flowers and insects is typically Japanese, as are the asymmetric composition and the lack of depth.


Red poppy Art, part of a triptych for sale

Amidst a confusion of green foliage, Van Gogh created butterflies with a few dabs of paint – a counterpoint to the two flowers at the top of the painting. The vegetative profusion at lower right contrasts with the emptiness at left, where whole areas of canvas remain unpainted.

Abstract Red Poppies on a blue color field

The vivid red poppies and the pale yellow butterflies float on the surface of twisting dark stems and nodding buds, all against a yellow-gold background. Although composed of natural motifs, van Gogh’s layering of pattern in Butterflies and Poppies suggests a decorative quality like that of a textile or a screen.

Mixed Media Collage as a cubist element

My poppies also float on a background, often an abstract color field. In my poppy collage series, the background has been broken up in cubist colors using torn piano sheet music. These poppy paintings are available as originals and there are also poppy prints for sale as well.

Can you see the Japanese influence on all the depictions of poppies by these other etsy artists?

mentioned in this article @philamuseum

0 thoughts on “Intoxicated by van Gogh”

  1. Hi Miriam

    Thank you for including my Poppies in this wonderful, colorful post!

    I have always loved Van Gogh for his beautiful, sensitive work, and also Japanese art for it's graceful lines and sense of design. So I'm feeling very happy and at home here 🙂
    Thank you!

    I so love flowers, and recently also posted on my blog about Poppies!
    You can view it here if you have the time:

    Great to see your beautiful bright paintings!

    Best wishes


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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