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Vincent Willem van Gogh

(1853-1890)

 

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, and died largely unknown, at the age of 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Van Gogh did not begin painting until his late twenties, and most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years. He produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. Although he was little known during his lifetime, his work was a strong influence on the Modernist art that followed.

Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence.

Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty. The works of his early Dutch period are somber-toned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is "The Potato Eaters" (1885). In that year van Gogh went to Antwerp, where he discovered the works of Rubens and purchased many Japanese prints.

In 1886 he went to Paris to join his brother Théo, the manager of Goupil's gallery. In Paris, van Gogh studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin, and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists. His nervous temperament made him a difficult companion and night-long discussions combined with painting all day undermined his health. He decided to go south to Arles where he hoped his friends would join him and help found a school of art. Gauguin did join him but with disastrous results. Near the end of 1888, an incident led Gauguin to ultimately leave Arles. Van Gogh pursued him with an open razor, was stopped by Gauguin, but ended up cutting a portion of his own ear lobe off. Van Gogh then began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.

Recently acquitted from the hospital, Van Gogh suffered a severe setback in December 1889. Although he had been troubled by mental illness throughout his life, the episodes became more pronounced during his last few years. In some of these periods he was either unwilling or unable to paint, a factor which added to the mounting frustrations of an artist at the peak of his ability. His depression gradually deepened. On 27 July 1890, aged 37, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He survived the impact, but not realizing that his injuries were to be fatal, he walked back to the Ravoux Inn. He died there two days later. Theo rushed to be at his side. Theo reported his brother's last words as "La tristesse durera toujours" (the sadness will last forever).

Theo's health deteriorated in the months after the death of his brother. He contracted syphilis—though this was not admitted by the family for many years. He was admitted to the hospital, and weak and unable to come to terms with Vincent's absence, he died six months later, on 25 January, at Utrecht. In 1914, Theo's body was exhumed and re-buried with his brother at Auvers-sur-Oise.

Sources: Wikipedia, www.vangoghgallery.com

The Starry Night
oil on canvas, 1889

Cafe Terrace at Night
oil on canvas

Sunflowers
oil on canvas
(On March 30, 1853, Vincent Van Gogh was born. Exactly 134 years later to the very day, his painting "Sunflowers" was sold for $39.7 million)

Self-portrait
oil on canvas, 1889

Boots
oil on canvas
"In a picture I want to say something comforting."

Wheat Field under Threatening Skies
oil on canvas
Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam

Wheat Field with Cypresses
oil on canvas, 1889

Trees in the Asylum Garden
oil on canvas

Grasgrond (Patch of grass)
oil on canvas, 1887
Portrait under Grasgrond>>

Self-portrait as an artist
oil on canvas, 1888

A self-portrait with a bandaged ear
oil on canvas, 1889

Old Man in Sorrow, on the Threshold of Eternity
oil on canvas, 1890
Saint Rémy de Provence

Self-portrait
Oil on cardboard, 1887

Self-portrait
Oil on cardboard, 1887

A self-portrait
oil on canvas, 1887-1888
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Self-portrait With Pallete
oil on canvas, 1889
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Self-portrait
Oil on canvas, 1889
(in doubt)
55.5x45cm, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo

Painter on His Way to Work
Oil on canvas, 1888, 48x44cm
Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (lost by fire in 1945), Magdeburg

Portrait of Dr. Gachet
oil on canvas, 1889

Portrait of Dr. Gachet
oil on canvas, 1890

Portrait of Père Tanguy
Oil on canvas, 1889
Musée Rodin

Armand Roulin
Oil on canvas, 1888

Madame Ginoux
oil on canvas, 1890

Sonnenblumen
oil on canvas, 1888

View of Arles with Irises in the Foreground
Oil on canvas, 1888
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Irises
Oil on canvas, 1889

Irises
oil on canvas, 1890

Irises
oil on canvas, 1890

Van Gogh's room at Arles
Oil on canvas, 1889
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Entrance to the Public Garden in Arles
Oil on canvas, 1889

Harvest
oil on canvas

Peasant Woman Peeling Potatoes
oil on canvas, 1890

Starry Night over the Rhone
Oil on canvas, 1889
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Potato Eaters
lithograph, 1885

The Potato Eaters
oil on canvas, 1885

Peasants planting potatoes
oil on canvas, 1884

The Olive Trees
Oil on canvas, 1889
Museum of Modern Art, New York

Laan met populieren in de buurt van Nuenen
Oil on canvas, 1885
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

The Old Mill
oil on canvas, 1888

Wheat Field with Crows
oil on canvas, 1890

Wheat Field
Oil on canvas, 1888
Honolulu Academy of Arts

The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise
Oil on canvas, 1890
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Houses seen from the back
oil on canvas

The Night Café
oil on canvas, 1888
Yale University Art Gallery

Prisoners' Round
Oil on canvas, 1890
Pushkin's Museum, Moscow

Brücke von Arles
Oil on canvas, 1888

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles
oil on canvas, 1888
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Entrance Hall of Saint-Paul Hospital
Black chalk, brush and thinned oil on pink paper, 1889
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Die Rhônebarken. Arles
Oil on canvas, 1888
Museum Folkwang, Essen

Zypressen.
Oil on canvas, 1889
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Rogers Fund, 1949), New York

Früchtekorb und Handschuhe
oil on canvas, 1889
Neue Pinakothek, München

Blick auf Arles
oil on canvas, 1889
Neue Pinakothek, München

Die Ernte. Arles
Oil on canvas, 1888
Museum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam

Kirschbaum
Oil on canvas, 1888
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Mandelblütenzweig
oil on canvas, 1888
National Museum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam

Memory of the Garden at Etten (Ladies of Arles)
oil on canvas, 1888
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Langlois Brücke at Arles
1888
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart

Rock and Ruins, at Montmajour. Rohrfeder
1888
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam

Le Moulin de Blute-Fin
oil on canvas, 1886
Bridgestone Museum of Art

Village Street Auvers

Casa ad Auvers

The Red Vineyard
1888

Boots

Les vaches

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