Beautiful Art Mugs: Coffee Mugs with Reproductions of Artworks by Van Gogh, Monet, Degas

by Mira

High-quality colorful, vibrant coffee mugs with reproductions of famous paintings, which make nice gifts for art lovers. Here’s some info on Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas as well.

Art mugs are nice ways to keep favorite paintings close. They’re even better than fridge magnets because they are a little bigger and, well, more functional too. Artworks make objects like coffee mugs things of both function and beauty. While there’s a disconnect here between the two qualities, as beauty doesn’t follow function, there is, however, something to be said about art reproductions on mugs. The outer band on a regular mug lends itself well to displays of color or text. It is, in fact, one of today’s blank canvases and Web sites as Zazzle, where designers and buyers can customize 250+ types of products to meet this need we have to make mugs our own, to decorate them with what pleases our eye and our soul. Mugs – and T-shirts, mousepads, etc. – sell on Zazzle because people need to have personal statements on personal objects. Artworks that we like are such personal statements.

This article will include a few examples of mugs with paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas.

Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone (1888)
Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone (1888)
Wikimedia Commons

Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night over the Rhone mug

Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night over the Rhone (1888)

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) painted his famous Starry Night in June 1989, when he was a patient in the St. Paul’s asylum near Saint-Rémy in Provence. It was inspired by a view of the night sky, with the Morning Star shining bright, from his window. The actual scenery in the painting is partly invented, and partly derived from Dutch village architecture.

The painting is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This is not his only starry nights. He loved the swirls in the sky, the powerful spots of bright yellow, the contrast between the yellow color and the dark blue tones of a sky at night.

His other two famous paintings with night views and star-studded skies are Café Terrace at Night and Starry Night over the Rhone, both painted in September 1888 in Arles.

If you want to see a really good movie about Van Gogh, I recommend Robert Altman’s 1990 film Vincent & Theo, with Tim Roth as van Gogh and Paul Rhys as his brother Theo.

Vincent & Theo (1990)


Vincent & Theo (1990)

Instant video

Claude Monet's Water Lilies (1906)

The Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) painted over 250 Water Lilies. The famous image shown below, dating from 1906, is now exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago. It doesn’t go around the mug because it’s almost square in shape. Beware of mugs where this image is stretched to fit the entire girth of the mug – the result is rather ugly. Note that you can increase the size of the artwork to get it closer to the rim. You can also move the image to the right, if you want to.

Monet painted his “water landscapes,” as he referred to them, in his garden at Giverny between 1899 and 1926. In the last years of his life his sight was severely affected by cataracts. The images become larger and larger, and rather blurry.

Monet, Water Lilies (1906)
Monet, Water Lilies (1906)
Wikimedia Commons

The coloring also suffered. It was harder and harder for him to distinguish between colors. They also appeared to him less intense. All this explains the choice of colors and tonal intensity of his paintings of that period.

He eventually got two cataract surgeries in 1923, and then proceeded to destroy much of the work impacted by his damaged eyesight.

There’s sheer beauty in Water Lilies (1906), in the choice of subject, colors, and the perspective that plunges towards us, revealing only the water surface and nothing above, as if we were bent over the water, looking only a little further ahead. There’s also the shimmering brushwork.

Claude Monet

Water Lilies (1906) mug

Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers

Like Monet, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) had failing eyesight, which became manifest as early as the 1880s. In the last decades of his life, his pastels become looser and looser. The quality of the brushstrokes in his paintings may suggest that he was a spontaneous artist like Monet. But nothing could be further from the truth. “No art was less spontaneous than mine,” Degas said. His paintings and drawings are carefully composed, and they are inventions rather than quick renderings of fleeting scenes. Degas, this painter of ballet dancers, whom he represented in more than half of his works after observing them at the old Paris Opera as they were performing on stage, rehearsing, or relaxing, brought much to the final compositions from memory or various sketches done at different times. When the Paris Opera was destroyed in a fire in 1873, he continued to use it as a setting in his works.

Degas is beautiful not only for his brushstrokes or the wonderful quality of his pastels, but also for his compositions: asymmetrical, with unusual viewpoints, and bodies cropped at the margins, showing the influence of both Japanese woodcut prints, which circulated in 19th-century (van Gogh had a whole collection of them) and the medium of photography, which Eadweard James Muybridge used to capture motion. Degas’s paintings, while not quick representations of a moment in time, were, however, about showing the beauty of many stolen moments in the life of the ballet corps of the Paris Opera.

Degas, Dancer in Green (1877-79)
Degas, Dancer in Green (1877-79)

Degas Mug

Ballet Rehearsal (1873)

Degas Mug

The Star / Dancer on Stage (c. 1878) and Swaying Dancer / Dancer in Green (mirrored) (1877-79)
Updated: 07/25/2018, Mira
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Mira on 06/08/2014

Yes, they're nice, aren't they? I'm still not sure it's 100% OK to make them (I'm thinking of copyright issues), but from what I've read, the designers should be fine.

cazort on 06/08/2014

One of my friends has one of these Van Gogh mugs; I think they're beautiful!

Mira on 02/07/2014

Thanks, Jo! I hope it's alright. Am not doing any myself, but I see many do. And Zazzle is quick to take action if it gets word of copyright infringement.

Jo_Murphy on 02/06/2014

Hi Mira, It is a great way to keep great paintings with all of the time. I was worried about copyright too. But it seems to be OK. Nice! Jo

Mira on 02/05/2014

Thank you! I love that this option exists.

sheilamarie on 02/04/2014

These are lovely mugs! A nice way to add a bit of art to your day.

Mira on 02/04/2014

Glad you like them, MonisMas!

MonisMas on 02/04/2014

These are really pretty!

Mira on 02/03/2014

Thank you, Derdriu! Glad you like these images! And yes, color is such a wonderful thing in art, isn't it?

Mira on 02/03/2014

Hi Tolovaj, you mean they (Zazzle) will deny it just because they already have that image? How very interesting! Thank you for your comment!

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