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Vincent Van Gogh Dutch Post-Impressionist Painter 1853-1890

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  • Vincent Van GoghDutch Post-Impressionist Painter1853-1890

  • France, 1880's to 1900Impressionist painter-

    Impressionism is a light, spontaneous manner of painting which began in France as a reaction against the formalism of the dominant Academic style. The movement's name came from Monet's early work, Impression: SunriseThe hallmark of the style is the attempt to capture the subjective impression of light in a scene

  • Vincent Van GoghHe was the son of a minister, the eldest of six children in a family that valued education, cultural experiences and religion. Early on, he exhibited a talent for drawing and watercolors. But for the longest time, van Gogh bounced from job to job and place to place.

    His pictures hang in the world's greatest museums. They also appear on T-shirts, postcards, sugar packets and refrigerator magnets. Some of his paintings have sold for tens of millions of dollars each. A single portrait fetched $82.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a picture at auction. Styles in the art world have come and gone over the last century, yet his popularity has never waned. In fact, Vincent van Gogh is one of the best-known figures in the history of art. He is also one of the least understood.

  • Vincent Van GoghHis decision to become an artist provided a sense of purpose but did not mitigate his personal problems. In 1883, he moved in with a prostitute known as Sien, who had a 5-year-old child and was pregnant with another.

    His intelligence, prodigious talent, and determination were overbearing. He was very serious and held strong opinions. When challenged, he would become angry or withdraw behind a wall of silence. Potato EatersOctober 1885One of his first paintings!

  • Vincent Van GoghIn March 1886, Vincent moved to Paris. He was now surrounded by the modern paintings he had only heard and read about.Vincent's experiences in Paris were transforming. Quickly, his style began to evolve away from dark peasant compositions toward bright, vibrant color and urban subjects. He painted his still life's in brighter, fresher colors. His brush strokes became shorter, and he rapidly developed a style that is a hybrid of the warm, rich color of the Impressionists.

  • Van Gogh Art!

  • The Starry Night 1889 (29x36)

  • The Night Caf 1888

  • Postman Roulin(1888) Sunflowers (1888)

  • On Feb. 20, 1888, Van Gogh departed Paris and arrived the following day in the town of Arles on the Rhone River. There he hoped to establish an artists' collective that he called "the studio of the South" a place where other artists would join him, share expenses and ideas, and work together. Anticipating their arrival, he rented a house that he called the Yellow House. One of the artists who joined Van Gogh was Paul Gauguin. The two artists painted together and got better from their competitive nature. This competitiveness however would lead to arguing and fighting.

  • The Ear Story???By that December, their friendship was deteriorating. More than once Gauguin threatened to leave, changed his mind, and then seemed ready to leave again. On Christmas Eve, the two men reached a crisis point. According to Gauguin's account he went out alone for a walk sometime after dinner; van Gogh came up behind him with an open straight razor; Gauguin stared him down and spent the night in a hotel. Whatever happened out on the street, what happened next fixed van Gogh's myth in the popular mind: Back at the Yellow House, he took the straight razor to his ear lobe (not the entire ear), and tried to present it to a prostitute he knew. When police found him in bed the next day, he was sleeping so soundly they thought he was dead.

    Gauguin immediately boarded a train for Paris. Van Gogh was hospitalized briefly. The episode proved to be the first of many.

  • In the months afterward, Vincent came to understand that he suffered from an illness and that he ought to seek treatment. In May 1889 he entered the Asylum of Saint-Paul in Saint-Remy, a village not far from Arles. In the asylum he suffered periodically from episodes of illness, but he also managed to paint some of his most remarkable works, such as "Wheat Field With a Reaper,"On the 17th of that month, he was released from the asylum. Although there was a risk that his illness would recur, both he and his doctor agreed that he had improved enough to leave.

    When Vincent arrived the next day in Paris, Theo met him at the train station. He stayed in Paris for three days with Theo and his family before leaving for a village outside Paris, where he could be cared for by Doctor Paul Gachet,(and who would become the subject of the $83 million portrait).

  • On June 4 Vincent expressed strong reservations about his doctor: "I think we must not count on Dr.Gachet at all. First of all, he is sicker than I am, I think, or should we say just as much, so that's that. Now when one blind man leads another, don't they both fall into the ditch?"

    If Vincent had had the benefit of modern medicine, psychiatry and pharmacology, he might have survived well into the 20th century. As it was, he soon toppled into the ditch.

  • "Wheat Field With Crows," painted in the weeks before he died, seems to predict the future. The road into the wheat field stops in the middle of the field and goes nowhere. The crows scavengers whose very existence is closely linked to death and dying seem to fly right at us. Moreover, the birds and the sky seem to announce the coming of the forces of darkness.

  • On July 27, Vincent began a letter to Theo that he never finished. Instead, he left for the fields to paint, packing not only paints, brushes and canvas, but also a pistol. How he got it, no one knows, but he used it to shoot himself in the chest just below the heart. Although mortally wounded, he walked back to his rented room in Auvers. He was careful to button his coat to hide the blood. When he failed to appear for dinner, the innkeeper went to his room and found him lying on his bed. Vincent showed the innkeeper his bloody chest and said, "I tried to kill myself but missed . . . " He died two days later, with Theo at his side. The circumstances surrounding his death are vague, but apparently he shot himself in a wheat field nearby. The setting may have been a coincidence, but given his highly analytical mind, there is every likelihood that he planned his death as carefully as he did his paintings. To perform the final act of his life, he walked into the one of the most important symbols in his personal mythology.

  • Student Work

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