Portrait of Alexander Reid – Van Gogh 1887

Animated by fiery touches of red, orange and green, this portrait has an enigmatic and expressive power. Red and green are complementary colours which is why this portrait is particularly vivid and striking. The lines of his brushwork provide a dynamic force to the painting. Vincent did not want to paint photographic likenesses but to show a revelation of a person.

Until 1928 this was believed to be a self-portrait of Van Gogh. Alexander Reid’s son saw the painting in a catalogue, contacted the artist’s family and told them it was actually a portrait of his father.

Alexander Reid (1854-1928) was an influential Glasgow art dealer. In its heyday his business was one of the leading firms in Glasgow with 80 employees. In the 1880s he left Scotland to work in Paris for the art house of Boussod & Valadon. One of his colleagues there was Theo van Gogh, the brother of Vincent Van Gogh. During his time in Paris Reid became friendly with the brothers and for a short time even shared their apartment in Monmartre. It was during this time that Van Gogh painted Reid’s portrait – twice.

On his return to Glasgow Reid pursued his career as a picture dealer with the family firm and went on to sell French art to many of the wealthy businessmen in Glasgow. His customers were in turn benefactors of the Glasgow Collection, which is why Glasgow Museums have a fantastic French art collection today.

In the early part of the 20th century there was a Van Gogh Exhibition at Kelvingrove and Vincent’s brother Theo’s son visited the exhibition.

To see this fantastic painting and learn more about the Van Gogh connection with Glasgow visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. This painting is situated in the East Wing on the first floor in the French Room.

For evening tours and specialised tours of the collection contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk