Paintings by Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was an artist whose work is one of the formative influences of 20th-c. art and whose life has become almost a legend. The son of a Dutch parson, Vincent Van Gogh was employed by a firm of art dealers in The Hague, London and Paris. Afterwards Vincent Van Gogh became in turn a schoolmaster in Britain, a missionary to the miners in the Borinage, Belgium, and finally, in 1880, an artist. Vincent Van Gogh was virtually self-taught, though he received some technical advice in oil and watercolour painting from a cousin, the artist A. Mauve. In 1886 he left Holland for Paris, where he lived with his brother Theo, one of the few art dealers encouraging such artists as Bernard, Degas, Gauguin, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec. Impressed by the work and personalities of these painters, Vincent Van Gogh conceived the idea of founding a 'Studio of the South' at Arles as a working community for progressive artists. Vincent Van Gogh himself went to Arles early in 1888, but the only other painter he persuaded to join him was Gauguin, who visited him at the end of 1888. A violent quarrel between the 2 precipitated the first of Van Gogh's periodic attacks of madness in which he cut off part of his ear. 2 years later, at Auvers-sur- Oise, he shot himself.
Vincent Van Gogh had sold 1 picture during his lifetime. Early work of Van Gogh's Dutch period is heavy, rich but subdued in colour, with a few fine effects. The Potato Eaters is typical. After his contact with other painters in Paris, with Japanese prints and the work of such original colourists as Delacroix and A. Monticelli, Van Gogh's style changed radically to the brilliant colour and frenzied, thick brushwork of his Arles period. Among hundreds of paintings of the last two and a half years are: Cornfield and Cypress Trees, Starry Night, La Mousmé, Sunflowers and Self-portrait. His watercolours (e.g. Fishing Boats at Santeo Maries) and drawings are of equal intensity and value, while the letters he wrote to his brother Theo are important literary and human documents in their own right.