Van Gogh’s Life And Works
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The memorable paintings shown here are only a few of the countless masterpieces by van Gogh. For other favorites, explore the sources listed below.
Van Gogh enthusiasts may also want to take a deep dive into the artist’s letters, which chronicle his life and creative processes. More than 900 correspondencesmost written by van Gogh and some receivedhave been translated into English and can be read online at The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh or in print editions of the collection.
The Potato Eaters 1885
Van Gogh completed The Potato Eaters in Nuenen in 1885, during his early years as an artist. His aim was to portray a village peasant family in their natural setting, having a meal, rather than posing for the painting. Van Gogh meticulously planned this painting and hoped to exhibit it at the Paris Salon. However, the Salon rejected it and the painting was not successful in Van Goghs lifetime.
Today, this painting is considered by the art world to be one of Van Goghs most regarded masterpieces. You can view Potato Eaters at the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum.
The Olive Trees By Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh painted at least 15 paintings of olive trees, these plants have a very precious meaning for Van Gogh, they demonstrate the relationship between man and nature which represents one of the cycles of life, harvesting or death.
It is also an example of how individuals, through interaction with nature, can connect with the divine. Here are some beautiful fields with olive trees with silver-gray leaves, like clipped willows. I never get tired of the blue sky, “wrote Van Gogh to his mother on July 2, 1889. Between June and December of that year, he painted about fifteen olive groves, most of them in the autumn.
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Wheat Field With Cypresses At The Haute Galline Near Eygalieres July 1889
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The towering cypress trees that surrounded the asylum at Saint-Rémy became as important to van Gogh as sunflowers had been in Arles. With his characteristic bold impasto, the artist rendered the trees and surrounding landscape with dynamic swirls of color. The heavy layers of paint took on added texture from the asymmetrical weave of the toile ordinaire canvas that van Gogh ordered from Paris and used for most of his later works.
Van Gogh believed that “Wheat Field with Cypresses” was one of his best summer landscapes. After painting the scene en plein air, he painted two slightly more refined versions in his studio at the asylum.
Top 7 Vincent Van Gogh Paintings And What Makes Them Masterpieces
The son of a pastor brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional, lacked self-confidence and struggled with his identity and with direction. He believed that his true calling was to preach the gospel however, it took years for him to discover his calling as an artist. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had already experienced two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage where he was dismissed for overzealousness.
The sunflower paintings had a special significance for Van Gogh: they communicated gratitude, he wrote. He hung the first two in the room of his friend, the painter Paul Gauguin, who came to live with him for a while in the Yellow House. Gauguin was impressed by the sunflowers, which he thought were completely Vincent. Van Gogh had already painted a new version during his friends stay and Gauguin later asked for one as a gift.
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What Makes These Paintings Famous
Sunflowers is not just one painting, but in fact two entire series of multiple paintings of sunflowers. Most of the time, when someone refers to Van Goghs Sunflowers, theyre talking about the series he created while in Arles, consisting of four initial versions and three repetitions on the same idea.Lesser known are the Paris Sunflowers, which he created while living with his brother in Paris between 1886 and 1888. Less triumphant and not in full bloom, these sunflowers are nonetheless pretty spectacular to see, and can be found at museums including The Met in New York, the Kröller-Müller Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Portrait Of Pre Tanguy
This painting is of a paint grinder, who sold art materials and was an art dealer. He was one of the first people to sell Van Goghs paintings. Vincents mood and technique changed with this vividly colored painting. This portrait shows his skill with a brighter palette and demonstrates the development of his creative approach.
- Year: Completed in 1890
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Portrait Of Dr Gachet 1890
When Van Gogh left the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, his brother, Theo, organised for Vincent to move to Auvers-sur-Oise, to live in the house of a doctor and homeopath, Dr. Paul Gachet. Camille Pissarro recommended this doctor to Theo, stating that this doctor had a particular interest in treating artists.
Van Gogh made three portraits of Dr. Gachet, an etching and two paintings . One copy he gave to Dr. Gachet as a gift. The most famous portrait depicts the doctor sitting at a table and leaning his head on his right hand. Dr. Gachets face portrays a heart-broken man.
Van Gogh thought Dr. Gatchet was as crazy as him. In a letter to Theo, Vincent writes he certainly seems to be suffering as seriously as I.
In 1890, one of the portraits of Gachet sold for a staggering price of $82.5 million dollars at an auction in New York.
Today, one portrait of Dr. Gachet is on display in the Musee DOrsay in Paris. The second painting belongs to a private art collector.
The Red Vineyard By Vincent Van Gogh
Painted in Arles in November 1888. It is the only painting he certainly managed to sell during his lifetime. However, it is likely that the same painter had managed to sell at least one of his canvases, as, as stated in the letter to his brother No. 506, he claims to have received 20 francs for the portrait of a friend of Father Tanguy, probably in early 1888.
The painting represents the harvest in the Arlesian countryside, probably in Trébon, north of the city in the direction of Montmajour. The work is noteworthy for its colors, especially for the opposition of the complementary yellow and purple, announcing in some ways Fauvism. In a letter dated October 2, 1888, Vincent spoke of his intentions to Eugène Boch: Well, I have to go to work at the vineyard near Mont Major.
It’s all purple, yellow and green under the blue sky, a beautiful color scheme. During this period of September-October 1888, Vincent van Gogh experimented with various color models this concern is evident in his reflections on some works of the period, such as Il caffè at night, the Starry Night on the Rhone or the Terrazza del caffè in the evening.
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Almond Blossoms By Vincent Van Gogh
This is an oil painting on canvas made by the painter in Saint Rémy in 1890. The canvas was a gift that the painter himself gave to his brother Theo Van Gogh and his wife Johanna Bonger for the birth of their son, of name Vincent Willem.
The work is the representation of a flowering almond branch, with white, almost pearly petals, which stand out in a blue sky, with turquoise shades. As a symbol of life, Van Gogh chose the branches of the almond tree, one of the first flowering trees that, in the sunny south, in that February announced the imminent spring.
The work was certainly inspired by Japanese prints, probably the first of a series that Vincent was unable to finish because he was upset by a crisis: we realize this by observing the unfinished plant contours , and some parts left in the initial sketch state . The painting is now exhibited in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in the 1889-90 Saint Rémy section.
Van Gogh himself points out that the gnarled hands that are grabbing the potatoes are the same ones that, during the day, have sown and harvested them: By working, I wanted to make it clear that these poor people, who by the light of a lamp eat potatoes using the plate with their hands, have themselves hoed the land where those potatoes grew the painting, therefore, evokes manual labor and suggests that those farmers honestly deserved to eat what they eat.
The 10 Most Famous Artworks Of Van Gogh
From The Bedroom to Starry Night to the Portrait of Dr. Gachet…
You can also read this article in French or in Spanish.
Vincent van Gogh, one of the most well-known post-impressionist artists, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland on March 30, 1853.
Van Goghs finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brush stroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Goghs inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature.
In spite of his lack of success during his lifetime, van Goghs legacy lives on having left a lasting impact on the world of art. Van Gogh is now viewed as one of the most influential artists having helped lay the foundations of modern art.
niood lists the 10 Most Famous Artworks of Vincent Van Gogh:
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Cafe Terrace At Night 1888
Cafe Terrace at Night is one of the first paintings that Van Gogh made when he came to Arles. The café in Arles still exists today and is renamed the Cafe Van Gogh. It is a major tourist attraction for Van Gogh fans.
This painting is one of the most recognized and quoted artworks. Its popularity rivals with Van Goghs iconic Sunflowers and Starry Night paintings.
Van Gogh set up his easel outdoors and in the evening hours to paint this scene. This was a practice that he picked up from the impressionists in Paris. However, he did not paint the scene as he observed it but rather used color and brushwork to express his emotions. In this painting, Van Gogh portrays excitement and pleasure.
Interestingly, Van Gogh never signed this painting. However, art historians know that he painted this canvas from numerous letters that he wrote to his family members about this art piece.
Cafe Terrace at Night is hanging on the walls of the Kröller-Muller Museumin the Netherlands.
Wheatfield With Crows By Vincent Van Gogh
Generally, critics and art historians see in this picture a representation of the tormented and anguished mood of the artist: the canvas is a heartbreaking cry of pain, accentuated by the swirling rhythm of the brush strokes, through which the painter projects his state of mind and one’s own dimension of suffering on the surrounding reality.
A storm, almost like a presentiment of mourning, is about to fall on a field of wheat from which rises, dark and gloomy, a flock of black crows in a low disordered flight, almost as if they were vultures on a corpse. It is known that the artist had a deep respect for the forces of nature, and this explains why he painted agitated skies in many of his works: in fact, he believed that the subject had an incalculable artistic potential if reproduced on canvas.
The cornfield, mercilessly shaken by the wind, was created through real whips of yellow, while the sky, initially clear, is now a harbinger of a storm, to the point of being clouded by the intense black color of the clouds which, relentlessly, they drop hostile and threatening. The wheat field is also furrowed by three meandering paths: the first in the lower-left corner, the second in the center, and the third in the lower right corner.
Note how the two lateral paths seem to have neither a point of origin nor seems to lead to a precise point of the picture.
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The Starry Night The Museum Of Modern Art New York City
The Starry Night,’ 1889
Van Gogh suffered from mental health issues throughout much of his life. After a string of unfortunate incidents in the late 1880s, he checked himself into a mental health facility in the South of France. During his time in the asylum, he completed 150 paintings, including The Starry Night, a nocturnal landscape painted through his iron-barred window.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City acquired this world-famous painting in 1941.
Stock Photos from Bumble Dee /Shutterstock
The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam
With 1.5 million visitors a year, the Van Gogh Museum is Amsterdam’s best visited museum – even before the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House.
Nowhere you’ll find more of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and also his drawings and letters.
It also has a lot of art by his contemporaries – impressionsts, post-impressionists and other artists like Gauguin, Monet, Rodin, Denis etc. Additionally, it regularly runs exhibitions on 19th-century topics.
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When Van Gogh Moved To Arles It Was The First Time He Had A Place Of His Own
As soon as he moved in, he began decorating the bedroom and filling the walls with canvasses.
This is first of three paintings Van Gogh made of his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles.
It shows a modest bedroom, complete with single bed, bedside table, chair and mirror. The door to the left leads to the guest room where Gaugin stayed the door to the right to the landing.
A closer inspection shows some interesting details: the pictures above the bed seem to include a van Gogh self-portrait a sun hat is hanging on a rack at the far end of the bed and the bedside table seems to display a small glass duck and a birthday cake.
Van Gogh’s inspiration
Legend has it that van Gogh got the idea for his painting after spending two and a half days in bed !
Isn’t it a bit flat?
Van Gogh intentionally sought to flatten the scene, drawing inspiration from the Japanese prints that he collected.
Note also the skewed rear wall .
The three versions
The first two versions are nearly identical. The first, painted in October 1888, was damaged by flood water when van Gogh was an in-patient at Arles’ Old Hospital. Van Gogh therefore repeated the work in September 1889. The first and second versions are now found in the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Art Institute of Chicago respectively.
Van Gogh’s take on the picture …
Van Gogh was clearly proud of his work, mentioning it in letters to his brother Theo and Gaugin. Both letters included a sketch of the work.
Irises J Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles
Van Gogh did not let his institutionalization interfere with his love of painting en plein air. Often, he would paint in the asylum’s garden, where he found an abundance of plants and flowers, including irises.
In 1889, he painted his most well-known painting of these flowers. Titled Irises, this painting was most likely intended as a simple study. However, in 1987, this unassuming work became the most expensive painting ever when it was sold to a private collector for $53.9 million. Two years later, it was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum, where it remains today.
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Caf Terrace At Night By Vincent Van Gogh
It was painted in 1888 and kept in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo and the full name of the research work is: “Cafe terrace in the evening, Place du Forum, Arles”. execution of this work, in the case of Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant. The work is a night vision of the Place du Forum in Arles.
The vision, interrupted on the left by the blue jamb of a door, continues through a platform on which three rows of green tables are arranged: tourists, casual passers-by, habitùe are accompanied, intent on enjoying the evening and maybe sipping a liqueur, while a waiter collects orders.
Note how it is impossible to recognize the physiognomy and identity of the customers, who seem to almost merge with the surrounding landscape, a testimony of how Gogh was attracted rather by the nocturnal gaze. Finally, finally, it unfolds in rue du Palais, outlined by the windows still lit by shops and some buildings for sleeping: on the street that shows some Arlesians who, wrapped in the joyful atmosphere of the cafe, walk on the wet cobblestones and chat softly, touching us physically or perhaps with the gaze and the load we want a scene of lively conviviality.
The Bedroom October 1888
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During his stay in Arles, van Gogh wrote in detail about the colors he found in his bedroom at Place Lamartine.In October 1888, he began a series of sketches and three oil paintings that showed nearly duplicate views of the room.
The first painting was the only one he completed while still in Arles. In September 1889, van Gogh painted the second version from memory while convalescing at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. A couple of weeks later, he painted a third, smaller version as a gift for his mother and sister. In each version, the colors grew slightly dimmer and the pictures on the wall over the bed were altered.
Collectively, van Gogh’s bedroom paintings rank among his most recognizable and most beloved works. In 2016, The Chicago Institute of Art built a replica inside an apartment in the Citys River North neighborhood. Bookings poured in when Airbnb offered the Chicago room at $10 a night.
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