Pass the chips and guacamole to Van Gogh

I was in a Mexican restaurant in Red Bank, NJ last weekend, and enjoyed checking out the art decor in the restaurant … they had a couple floral paintings, as you can see below – and I really like the little man with the sombrero mixed in there too. But as I was checking out the art, the painting below right looked pretty familiar to my art history memory. The sunflowers by subject matter alone makes one think of Van Gogh, but I found that the reference was more than just casual … scroll down for more.

floral paintings in a Mexican restaurant in Red Bank, NJ
Art in a Mexican restaurant in Red Bank, NJ – hey, isn’t that a Van Gogh copy there at right?

A quick search online helped me see that whomever painted that yellow sunflower painting was indeed looking at Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers – in fact, I’d say they spent some time looking at “Sunflowers (fourth version)” from 1888, which is part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery in London. Check out our comparison, below. The colors aren’t the same, of course, but if you look at the position and angle of each of Van Gogh’s flowers, they are mimicked in our Mexican restaurant version. The artist even put a fake signature (although it looks to read like a different name, followed by a comma and the letter X) in the same position – above the color line of the flower vase. This differs from Van Gogh’s “Sunflower (third version),” in which the signature is below the line on the vase, so this artist was definitely referencing the one I’ve placed here below.

comparison of a sunflower painting to Van Gogh's Sunflowers
Mexican restaurant Sunflowers at left, seen next to Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers from 1888 at right.

By the way, the food at the restaurant “Kitchen Tex-Mex” was good – I’d go again if the opportunity presents itself.

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