November 15, 2011

Art Inspired: One Pair of Shoes, Vincent Van Gogh

van_Gogh_Ein_Paar_Schuhe


This worn pair of black boots that Vincent van Gogh painted in 1886 in Paris is the most hotly discussed pair of shoes in the history of art. To this day, these humble boots are the jumping off place for experts to disagree about the function of art, the meaning of truth, and the nature of existence. Martin Heidegger made a case in 1936 for the "thingness of things"--that the painting is not really about a portrait of boots, but about revealing the hidden essence or truth--which can only to be derived from a work of art. The american art historian Meyer Schapiro disagreed, arguing that only by knowing van Gogh's intentions can the painting be understood and that the shoes were obviously a self-portrait. The fact that van Gogh barely wore shoes most of his life did not shake Schapiro's stance. Over the years Jacques Derrida, Ian Shaw and Stephen Melville also weighed in on these shoes.

So I ask you: is a shoe just a shoe? Or is it a work of art?

trustyourstylelaceup


1. Alexander McQueen Lace-up leather ankle boots $1,580
2. Alexander McQueen shoes $1,490 {on sale: $745}
3. Rag & Bone Classic Combat Boot $550
4. Dior Muse Ankle Boot $1,100
5. Alexander McQueen Flat Motorcycle Bootie $2,075
6. Betsy Johnson Glitter Combat Boot $150
7. Giambattista Valli Lace-Up Ankle Boot $1,070
8. Rochas Brogue Ankle Boot $895


* Are you as boot crazed as I am? For the next two days I'll be featuring California girls in boots over at On PCH.

* For more art inspired fashion posts, you can check out the last 27 weeks worth of art+fashion posts on the right hand index.

41 comments :

thenauticalwheeler said...

Definitely boot crazed. I've been looking for a new pair and can barely narrow it down! Love your picks ~jen

Cafe Fashionista said...

Gah! Now this is the best form of life imitating art. Amazing selection, Mary Jo. I wouldn't mind finding those Rag & Bone Classic Combat Boots in my wardrobe! :)

classiq said...

I am not an expert in the history of art, but I tend to agree with Heidegger's opinion, that the painting expresses much more than a self-portrait. I don't necessarily think that a shoe is a work of art (although there are shoes that are exactly that, a work of art, meant to be admired rather than be worn, and I love those too), but I do think that shoes play the most important part in an outfit and a poor quality shoe is worth nothing. For me it must be beautiful (which does not exclude the comfort quality) and it must beautify your legs and look.
Ada

Rico said...

OK, I know this post is for your female readers, but what do you think about brogue boots for men with a suit?

Jess said...

I'll take #2 please :)

Couture Carrie said...

Works of art, darling, especially the Dior!

xoxox,
CC

Elle Sees said...

Work of art! Love this post.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

I think they are both! I like all of the boots but I think my favorite is number four,

Ms. Givens said...

I have never seen that painting.
Fabulous post!
I will take those Betsy glitter boots!

About Last Weekend said...

I do feel his pain in the rumpled worn look of these shoes. And I do feel some fashion transcends all earthly bounds and becomes art - like every Mc Queen piece I see...

FRANKIE HEARTS FASHION said...

I'm just as obsessed and I do believe that shoes are a work of art! It pains me to wear some of mine and get them dirty! ha. xo

Alena: Oh, It's Just Perfect! said...

A work of art for sure!! Well, some of them :) I don't own any that I consider a work of art, but shopping in upscale stores--I definitely pass by some that I'd love to frame ;)

Claire said...

i'm obsessed with boots! and these black booties are gorgeous! i so need to buy me a pair.

spinning-threads.blogspot.com

LPFashionPhilosophy said...

Ah! So loving all the shoes! Dying over the studs! Love it.

ox,
-Davie+Erica
Wardrobe Stylists, NYC.

>>http://www.lpfashionphilosophy.blogspot.com

Yola Thorp said...

i am in love with the painting. cant even get past that.

www.yolathorp.com

Alexis Grace of NorthOnHarper said...

Funny--- I have been on the hunt for a pair of easily worn in black flat boots..... this post absolutely is inspiring my hunt!

Bravoe Runway said...

I love #4, the dior boot with the studs are amazing! Why do I live in Chicago when everything has to be practical!

Bonnie said...

Do I have to choose a favorite??? All of these are fierce as hell.

http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Tamra {walkswithBella} said...

Great source of inspiration and round up of boots. So many great ones to choose from. x

Punctuation Mark said...

i love #8 but i'm not that keen on the price... ha!

design elements said...

thsi post is absolutely fantastic! so unusual and creative, Mary Jo. A book about Vincent van Gigh is on my badside table... big hug

Chuck said...

This is such a great idea. Brilliant painting too. I want the originals!

Josie said...

What KILLER inspiration! I love all of these little boots, especially the Rag & Bone ones!
xo Josie
www.winksmilestyle.com

Cindy said...

It truly is a work of art! Love love love booties #2, 7, 8, 4 (: REALLY want #4!! :D

http://styleologie.blogspot.com/

dimitri said...

It's a beautiful inspiration Mary Jo.
Vincent van Gogh was so talented.
It's a very nice selection.
xo

Lee Oliveira said...

Yes.. I will take all of them.. hahaha
obsessed with boots
lee

MM said...

Nice post, honey!! As always!
I consider that a hand-crafted pair of shoes is a work of art indeed.
Number 2, 4 and 7 are my favorite!!!

xoxoxo

Mani said...

I loooove military style and those boots are fabulous!

yiqin; said...

i need to have more boots <3

. said...

i love love love your blog !
pretty cool :D come and visit my blog
and if you like follow me and i'll follow you back
have a nice day (Ryan)

Kristin said...

Fashion is absolutely art! Love no. 7!

Veronica Popoiacu said...

I love your inspiration ! very original !

THE-LOUDMOUTH said...

Ooh, I love these boots! #5 be mine! :) And Van Gogh is my all-time favorite artist, I just adore his work and the stories behind it.

honeybeeandmeonline.net said...

WE ALL KNOW THAT SHOES ARE A WORK OF ART AND NOT ONLY THAT THEY SUPPORT US THRU OUT OUR LIVES...

YES, TO RICO, BROGUE BOOTS, WITH A SUIT ARE AMAZING..

I USE TO PUT MY 1 YEAR OLD SON IN LITTLE TINY WING TIPS WITH HIS GAP OVER ALLS!!!!!!


xxoo
m

The Dainty Doll's House said...

I love wearing boots, I can never have enough of them!! Van Gogh is wonderful, I really appreciate how you do these posts with art..it' gives me something 'more' to read than just the everyday kind of posts I come across. I don't find too many Art related blogs sometimes & yours is always a breath of fresh air!! :)) Hope you are doing well!! xx

agnes said...

le tableau de V.van Gogh est magnifique.


Très jolie sélection de boots, j'aime beaucoup les modèles 2,4 et 7

genuinstyle said...

Van Gogh was truly an amazing and talented artist ahead of his time.
Great post! Again :)

Debby said...

I love #2 and especially #7!! Although I would probably kill myself in both pairs, (I'm the girl who trips UP the stairs)! I didn't know Van Gogh never wore shoes. His life was anything but dull, huh? xo

Yara Simón said...

Those Betsey Johnson boots are to die for. I definitely want those.

LPC said...

Alexander McQueen for the win. Damn. I'd wear my gray hair down and long and chant incantations on the street corner.

Heather Fonseca said...

I never knew all that about Van Gogh's painting. Very interesting!
I do like boots a lot, but I'm more partial to the knee-high with low heel variety. I would like a pair of ankle boots but everything is so high these days I think I'd trip every time I wore them. But I promise once kitten heels come back I will buy a few.

 
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