Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands and died on July 29, 1890 in France at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Between 1881 and 1890, Vincent Van Gogh painted close to 900 pictures, but only sold one. However, after his death his fame escalated. He is now one of the most reproduced artists of all time.
One of the most recognizable paintings in history is Van Gogh’s, 1889, “Starry Night.” In this picture Van Gogh used circling brushstrokes and an unrecognized dark object in the forefront to show the view from his window during his stay in an asylum in Saint-Remy, France.
In 1888, Van Gogh painted “The Bedroom,” also known as “Bedroom in Arles.” This painting illustrates the artist’s bedroom in his “Yellow House,” so named because of a letter that Van Gogh wrote to his brother describing the house. This picture was done in bright, contrasting colors, and shows things like the artist’s furniture and even his own paintings hanging on the walls.
“The Night Café,” 1888, shows the late-night crowd at a café in Arles. In this painting he uses the contrasting colors of vivid red walls, bright green ceiling, and a yellow floor. The lone waiter in this painting gives off a feeling of solitude while appearing to stare out at the viewer. Van Gogh wanted to show the depths of humanity in an intimate manner with his use of extreme color contrast and rough brush movements.
1888’s “Café Terrace at Night,” like “Starry Night,” appears as if the stars are popping out at the viewer. Again Van Gogh uses contrasting yellows and oranges along with darker colors to create depth. This picture depicts a popular coffee house, the Place du Forum.
Also in 1888, Van Gogh created “The Dance Hall in Arles.” Van Gogh shows the influence of Japanese art in this piece through his portrayal of hair along with the floating circles of light. This work gives a feeling of overcrowding and movement with its bold, black lines outlining his figures and flatness from solid colors.
Van Gogh painted numerous images of sunflowers during his lifetime, though no two are identical. He brought the flowers to life with the use of bright, vivid colors. To provide a contrast to the bright colors, he would paint images of dying sunflowers. By doing this he was able to show the entire life cycle of the flowers.
Perhaps the most famous for its time as the most expensive painting ever sold, “Irises” sold for $53.9million in 1987. This picture gives off a more cheerful mood with its use of blues and greens, and intermixed yellows. His influence from Japanese artwork is shown again in this piece with his use of bold lines and angels. He painted “Irises” while in the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole.
After suffering years of painful anxiety and mental illness, very few people knew of and appreciated Van Gogh’s art. It wasn’t until after his tragic death that his work was seen as the masterpieces they truly are.