Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is one of his most famous series of works. He completed two separate series of still life paintings of Sunflowers the first in Paris in 1887 and the second adorned Gauguin’s room in Arles when he came to stay with Van Gogh at the yellow house. In a letter to his brother Theo from August of 1888 Van Gogh writes about how quickly he had to work to complete his Sunflower paintings to decorate the Studio of the South,
“Now that I hope to live with Gauguin in a studio of our own, I want to make decorations for the studio. Nothing but big flowers. Next door to your shop, in the restaurant, you know there is a lovely decoration of flowers; I always remember the big sunflowers in the window there.
If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so soon, and the thing is to do the whole in one rush.”
Often synonymous with happiness and light, for Van Gogh Sunflowers also brought meaning of new hope for building his artist community in the Studio of the South. The National Gallery website has an interesting section on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers which details Sunflowers as symbols of happiness and covers this period in Van Gogh’s life:
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers served as an inspiration for many other artists. View other artists’ Sunflowers.