Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated artists of all time though he did not see his work given much appreciation during his own lifetime. All of Van Gogh’s work was created in the 10 years before his suicide. He created some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings during that time.
Van Gogh had an enormous impact on expressionism, fauvism, and early abstraction and created postimpressionism. He was influenced by impressionism he looked more closely at nature and lightened his color palette yet his work was less idyllic and more emotional. Van Gogh’s bold use of color and application of paint were expressive and emotional creating drama in the work. His influence can be seen in other 20th century pieces of art.
Van Gogh’s art life started with charcoal drawings and eventually moved on to painting at the suggestion of his brother, Theo. He began with watercolors and then quickly moved on to oils. He took lessons at The Hauge for a brief time until he split from his instructor over artistic differences. Influenced by Jean-Francois Millet and the French countryside Van Gogh focused many of his paintings on peasants and rural scenes with somber earthy colors. His most famous painting during this time is The Potato Eaters. Van Gogh also was a painter of portraits some of which show Japanese art in the background. For a few months Van Gogh attended the art academy of Antwerp, Belgium. During this time he was introduced to Japanese art which he began collecting and which strongly influenced him with its bright colors and use of space.
In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris and discovered impressionism and pointillism both made their mark on his works. In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles, France where he created landscapes as well as his celebrated Sunflowers. In 1889, Van Gogh admitted himself to a psychiatric center at Saint Paul de Mausole in Saint Remy, France. The gardens and landscapes surrounding the hospital became Van Gogh’s main subject.
Among his most famous works are his self-portraits and The Starry Night. During his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting, The Red Vineyard, painted in 1888. Several of Van Gogh’s pieces have now become the most expensive paintings in the world setting records for prices of art. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is dedicated to the Dutch painter’s works.