Digital Analysis of Paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Norval Morrisseau (2010) Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

We study paintings from two artists, i.e. Vincent van Gogh and Norval Morrisseau, and develop different approaches to analyze their painting styles. We focus on characterizing the rhythmic brushstroke styles of Vincent van Gogh. A novel extraction method is developed by exploiting an integration of edge detection and clustering-based segmentation. Evidence substantiates that van Gogh’s brushstrokes are strongly rhythmic. That is, regularly shaped brushstrokes are tightly arranged, creating a repetitive and patterned impression. We also found that the traits that distinguish van Gogh’s paintings in different time periods of his development are all different from those distinguishing van Gogh from his peers.

On the painting styles of Norval Morrisseau, we propose measures of curve steadiness and neighborhood coherence to capture the curve elegance in his works. Through computerized analysis of his authentic works and the imitations, it is revealed that the curves in his authentic paintings exhibit his commanding painting skills. The smooth and steady flow of the curves shows less hesitancy of the artist than the authors of counterfeit works. The tangent angles tend to be more consistent along curves in the authentic paintings than in the imitations.

Lei Yao, Jia Li, and James Z. Wang,
Penn State University

Image Processing for Art Investigation – May 27, 2010 – Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Read the comprehensive report produced by Penn State University entitled Characterizing the elegance of curves computationally for distinguishing Morrisseau paintings and imitations.