Montblanc: For the Love of Van Gogh

by Pressroom

The new Montblanc Masters of Art Collection honours the immortal contribution of great artists in their quest for perfection in art, beginning with Van Gogh.

Following the conclusion of the Montblanc Patron of Art collection after a 30-year run, Montblanc moves the focus from the patrons of art to the masters themselves. From the Renaissance, the Baroque era, and the Impressionism period and beyond, the selected visual artists cut across disciplines including painting, sculpture, design and architecture. Every writing instrument in the limited-edition creations focus on the golden ratio, a timeless aesthetic principle connecting many of the world’s most admired artworks. This golden ratio, or 1.61 (Phi), also serves as special inspiration for the new Edition 161 under this collection, and will be featured in all upcoming Masters of Art collections.

The first edition, in cooperation with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, throws the spotlight on Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, one of the most prolific painters of the late 19th century with visionary ideas now seen as precursors to modernism. In just one decade, he created over 800 paintings and more than 1,100 drawings and sketches, breathing life into art with his bold use of colour, dramatic brushstrokes and the impasto technique, at the vanguard of post-Impressionist art.

Five limited edition writing instruments pay homage to some of Van Gogh’s most well-known works and idiosyncratic art style over the various personal and artistic periods in the painter’s life.

Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 4810

The Limited Edition 4810 celebrates Vincent van Gogh’s time in Arles with design details evoking the Provençal wheatfields and one of his most famous paintings, Sunflowers. An engraving of ‘1888’ commemorates the year he moved to Arles, while the barrel, decorated in shades of yellow and orange, and the orange lacquer used to fill the signature ‘Vincent’ engraved on the platinum-coated barrel ring, are reminiscent of the sun-drenched landscapes of southern France.

Van Gogh’s famous series of five sunflower paintings created during this time period, has its likeness interpreted and embossed on the handcrafted, solid Au 750 gold rhodium-coated nib. Van Gogh’s palette knife inspired the platinum-coated clip, where a subtle detail of the clip referenced his fondness for pipe smoking: the upper part is shaped like a pipe’s bowl and filled with precious yellow resin. His sweeping brushwork is also immortalised in the yellow lacquer of the cap top.

The cap of this edition is crafted from hornbeam wood in token of Van Gogh’s admiration for the art form Japonisme. He marvelled at the freshness of traditional Japanese woodblock prints, which he started collecting, and even adopted some elements of their composition into his own paintings. The wood-cutting knife or hangi-toh used in Japan for making woodblock prints inspired the overall silhouette of the writing instrument.

To reflect Vincent van Gogh’s artistic process, a pattern of lines similar to how he often tested colour combinations before painting by laying coloured yarns out for comparison, is captured in the engraving that encircles the forepart of the writing instrument. Another detail of his process – the use of a perspective frame as a visualisation aid to enable speed and accuracy in composition – is captured in the shape of the cap top of this edition: the triangular subdivision created by the strings stretched across this wooden frame. The screws holding the perspective frame together are interpreted as engravings on the fittings.

Finally, the engraving of ‘Borinage’ on the cap top, which is crowned by the Montblanc emblem in yellow precious resin, tells the story of how, in his search for a vocation, Vincent van Gogh lived as a lay preacher among coal miners in the Borinage, Belgium, where he first framed his artistic conceptions.

Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 888

The design of this edition evokes the artist’s time in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise. The engraving of ‘Saint-Rémy’ on the cap top reveals the setting for the next stage of the painter’s personal journey, while an engraving of ‘1889’ on the barrel ring commemorates the year of his move to Saint-Rémy.

The colours defining this period continue throughout the design. Provençal blue skies and golden wheatfields are reflected in translucent lacquer inlays in different shades of blue, and in the solid Au 750 yellow gold skeleton overlay. The stars shining brightly on the night skies over the wheatfields are represented by sparkling particles in the blue lacquer of the barrel and by the solid Au 750 yellow gold Montblanc emblem on the cap top, embedded in blue lacquer.

The image embossed on the solid Au 750 gold nib immortalises Vincent’s hopeful painting Almond Blossom, his response to the birth of the nephew who shared his name. One of Van Gogh’s most famous works, this painting was created specifically to honour the happy family event and symbolise the beginning of a new life.

Once again, the platinum-coated clip evokes Van Gogh’s palette knife while his sweeping brushwork is immortalised in the blue lacquer of the cap top. The upper part of the clip is shaped like a pipe’s bowl and adorned with a yellow citrine stone.

Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 161

This edition with a limitation of 161 captures the Van Gogh’s final years. In 1890, the painter moved on to Auvers-sur-Oise, which became his final home. The solid Au 750 signature gold barrel ring is engraved with Van Gogh’s signature and ‘1890’, commemorating the year he drew his last painting, Tree Roots. The Ag 925 sterling silver barrel is decorated with lacquer inlays with design and colours from Tree Roots, which depicts a group of trees with their roots exposed by erosion on the side of a hill.

During this period, Van Gogh perfected his ability to paint natural scenes as viewed through his own emotional lens, capturing facets of his inner self. He painted Wheatfield and Cypresses – an impetuous sky over a landscape full of movement –from the asylum in Saint-Rémy three times. His drawing of the same view, made with pencil, reed-pen and pen and ink, is interpreted in the engraving on the Ag 925 sterling silver cap.

The way Van Gogh found inspiration in Japanese art demonstrates the universality of artistic concepts such as the Golden Cut, or 1.61 (Phi), which served as inspiration for the embossing of the Phi symbol on the handcrafted, solid Au 750 gold nib and for the limitation to 161 pieces.

Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 90

Limited to 90 pieces, each writing instrument in this edition is unique in the way strokes of colour fuse together, giving this edition the quality of a painted canvas and paying homage to his impasto technique – applying thick paint in rough strokes to create a topography of coloured layers. Handcrafted artwork adorning the cap and barrel reflect the intensity of Van Gogh’s impasto, with its potent colours and vigorous palette knife strokes. Inspired by masterpieces such as The Harvest, the hand-crafted artwork features warm yellows, resonant oranges and soothing greens – colours used by Van Gogh for his visions of Provence.

To commemorate the year Vincent van Gogh moved to Arles, the year ‘1888’ is engraved alongside the signature ‘Vincent’ on the barrel ring, and ‘Arles’ on the cap top. Embedded in the cap top in a field of blue lacquer like one of Vincent’s bright stars – an image found repeatedly in his works – is the Montblanc emblem in solid Au 750 yellow gold.

Like the other editions, the Limited Edition 90 includes all the detailed features that reflect the artist’s processes, passions and signature tools, including how his palette knife inspired the yellow gold-coated clip, and his brushwork is immortalised in the orange lacquer of the cap top. This time round, while Van Gogh’s documented fondness for pipe smoking is similarly captured in the upper part of the clip design, the stone set here is a fire opal instead.

Montblanc Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition 8

This limited edition of only 8 pieces is a testament to the breathtaking blue skies and brush style that have made Van Gogh’s work Wheatfield with Crows a true masterpiece. The jewel-like quality of the sky is captured in the blue lacquer artwork on the solid Au 750 signature gold cap and barrel, partially set with brilliant-cut diamonds and enhanced with swirling engravings that echo Van Gogh’s brushstrokes. The sky imagery extends to the cap top, where a hand-painted field of intense blue lacquer edged with brilliant-cut diamonds frames the Montblanc diamond at the centre in a solid Au 750 signature gold setting.

To reflect Van Gogh’s love of natural landscapes, the cap showcases an elaborate handcrafted marquetry design inlaid onto solid Au 750 white gold, rhodium-coated and composed of tiny pieces of mother-of-pearl, sycamore, tulip tree, beetle elytra and straw – a nod to Vincent’s golden wheatfields. Sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines and brilliant-cut diamonds set around the marquetry inlay intensify its vividness.

Besides the other defining details found in the other editions, a quote from a letter to his brother Theo, on 25 September 1888 – where Van Gogh celebrated his ability to transform inspiration into new art – is hand-engraved on a solid Au 750 signature gold surface depressed into the barrel and cone: ‘Le tableau me vient comme dans un rêve’, meaning: The painting comes to me as if in a dream. Other differentiating standout details include a rhodium-coated clip set with a blue sapphire in this edition, and an engraving of his signature, ‘Vincent’, filled with blue lacquer, on the barrel.

Accompanying the Limited Editions in the collection is a selection of writing instruments and accessories:

  • A fine stationery that takes its outer design from the sun-filled landscape of Wheatfield with a Reaper, created by a 3D print to recall Van Gogh’s impasto technique. The notebook’s cover is also adorned with Van Gogh’s signature.
  • Montblanc ink in shade Turquoise, inspired by the soothing turquoise in his work Almond Blossom
  • Cufflinks, crafted in stainless steel, blue lacquer and sapphire glass that reflects the mesmerizing skies often seen in Van Gogh’s work

Explore Montblanc’s Masters of Art Homage to Vincent van Gogh Limited Edition, in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, at Montblanc boutiques and online.

Images courtesy of Montblanc, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

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