Van Gogh vs. Terminix


Elizabeth Harless, Journalist

Recently, a grasshopper was found stuck in the paint of a Van Gogh painting. This painting, “Olive Trees,” finished in 1889, was done using the impasto painting technique, the process of laying on paint or pigment thickly so that it stands out from a surface. Van Gogh used oil paint to achieve this look, which generally doesn’t dry all the way ever. 

When a group of Art Experts at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City began the preservation process on this particular piece, they noticed the grasshopper in the bottom right corner stuck in the paint. 

Van Gogh had a history of painting outside and once wrote to his younger brother Theo stating, “but just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself! (…) Then all sorts of things like the following happen — I must have picked up a good hundred flies and more off the 4 canvases that you’ll be getting, not to mention dust and sand.”