Van Gogh's A Pair of Shoes c.1887
The shoes depicted in this work are widely believed to be a pair of peddler's shoes purchased at a flea market in Paris. A peddler is basically an old-timey door-to-door salesman. These shoes would have been for daily use, and you can see that they are worn out by frequent journeys. The shoes have character, which isn't a word I'm tossing around because they look beat-up. Because of the traveling nature of the wearer, every scuff has a story within it. That's what I love about sturdy leather boots. I own a pair of 8" black Frye Harness boots and they are my go-to fall/winter shoe. They go everywhere I do and I've been fascinated to see how my life changes the boot. Let's not get crazy though; I don't like scuffs on any other kind of footwear.
A sample of Andy Warhol's work as a shoe illustrator c.1955
This is not the Warhol pop-art style everyone is familiar with. He was working for a shoe company where he did fashion illustration for their advertising. I believe some of his ad work in the 50's had an influence on his pop-art, mass manufactured print-making. On one occasion, he attempted to have his shoe illustrations exhibited, but he was rejected. As an aside, to whoever rejected Warhol: you fucked up.
Gauguin's Wooden Shoes c.1889-90
These are really meant to be worn as shoes, but you might not want to risk it given that they cost $338,500 a pop. They are engraved with characters that depict the typical dress and manner of maidens from the region of Brittany in France, a favourite place of Gauguin. The shoes themselves are also what was typically worn in that region. These are an example of Gauguin's work in wood-cutting and wood-engraving, which is a field he helped establish with his art.
Shoes lend themselves to stories so unbelievably well. They are essential to travel, and they become a part of your life's adventures. This shit just got cheesy. Happy weekend!