Vincent van Gogh
Joan M. Rehlin
Our mini art history post highlights Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Willem van Gogh, whose painting style has had a significant influence on Jim’s artwork.
Vincent van Gogh (3/30/1853–7/29/1890) is considered one of the most significant artists in the history of Western art. His use of bold colors and expressive brushwork contributed to the beginnings of modern art. Van Gogh created approximately 2,100 artworks in a little over 10 years, including 860 oil paintings with subjects ranging from landscapes to still lifes to portraits.
As a child, Van Gogh demonstrated a talent for drawing, but as a young man he chose not to pursue this and instead worked as an art dealer. After a few years, he began experiencing depression and turned to religion, studying theology and working as a missionary. In his late 20s, Van Gogh returned to live with his parents and refocused his attention on art, painting peasant laborers and still lifes. In his early 30s, he moved to Paris and lived with his younger brother, Theo, who was a financial supporter and lifelong friend to Vincent. In Paris, Van Gogh met several influential members of the avant-garde, including Paul Gauguin, who were moving beyond impressionism to post-impressionism.
Spending time in the south of France, particularly in Arles during 1888, Van Gogh honed his style and painted several series of artworks, including wheat fields and sunflowers. One of those — Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (shown here) — is currently on display in the Neue Pinakothek Art Museum in Munich, Germany. While in Arles, Van Gogh’s mental and physical health continued to suffer, which resulted in his cutting off his left ear. In and out of treatment, he experienced severe episodes of mental instability, and in 1890 Vincent van Gogh shot himself and died a few days later.
Van Gogh did not achieve recognition during his lifetime, but his works are now among the world’s most expensive paintings. In 1890, while Van Gogh’s work was on exhibit at Artistes Indépendants in Paris, Claude Monet said it was the best in the show. And as a prolific letter writer — to his brother Theo and sister Wil, as well as to Paul Gauguin and several other artists — Van Gogh’s words add a unique dimension and understanding to his artwork, not offered by other painters.
Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, oil on canvas (35.8” h x 28.3” w), 1888, Vincent van Gogh
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Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.