Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890

An Introduction to Vincent Van Gogh Wall Art Prints Australia

Vincent Van Gogh was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland, in 1853, and received an education in keeping with the strict piety of his father, a Calvinist pastor. In 1869 he left school to work for an art dealer, but he was fired after working in the business for seven years. He then spent two years as a lay preacher among the desperately poor miners of the Borinage district of Belgium. At the age of twenty-seven, he resolved to become an artist, beginning his new life by drawing unceasingly for two years.

The Cafe Terrace Vincent Framed Wall Art Print

Encouraged by his brother Theo who was to be a constant source of support, both moral and financial  Vincent began to paint, producing such works as Irises & The Potato Eaters (1885), a canvas about which he remarked several years later: “I set out to convey the idea that these people who eat their potatoes in the lamp­light with their bare hands, worked the earth with these very hands, and that my painting exalts manual labor and the food that they themselves have so honestly earned.”

In 1885 he studied for a while in Antwerp, where he discovered the painting of Rubens, whose use of colour he greatly admired. In Antwerp, he also bought his first Japanese prints. A solitary man, the lack of available models prompted him to begin paint­ing his own likeness, and thus to begin his long series of self-portraits.

In 1886 he moved to Paris to live with his brother Theo, who was work­ing for the same art dealer who had earlier fired Vincent. There he discovered the Impressionists and was much attracted to their light palette, free handling, and contemporary subject 4 matter. He also met Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Pissarro, and Signac. In The Italian Woman, Van Gogh brought Impressionist influence to bear on the lessons he had learned from Japanese prints, combining areas of unmodu­lated colour with readily apparent brushstrokes.

In 1888 Vincent left Paris for Aries, where he hoped to find brighter light and more vivid colour. He worked unceasingly, painting images of rural labour (The Sower), portraits of local personalities (The Postman), sunflowers, and three views of his modest bedroom. His work began to diverge from Impressionism as he adopted distorted spatial compositions and hues of exceptional intensity. A great admirer of Gauguin, he convinced the latter to join him in the south, where they worked together, often using the same models. Marie Gignoux, who posed for LArlesienne, also appears in Gauguin’s At the Cafe. But the two men, who were very different, often fought. Eventually, they actually came to blows. After trying to wound Gau­guin, Van Gogh, distraught, cut off his own left ear. This is the disturbing episode behind the two versions of his arresting Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear( 1889).

Sensing that he was going mad, Van Gogh voluntarily committed himself to an asylum at Saint-Remy- de-Provence, where he tried to use his painting as a form of therapy. In the resulting landscapes (Poplars), portraits, and flower paintings (Irises), he applied green, mauve, yellow, and blue pigment in sinuous, discontinu­ous strokes.

In May 1890, Van Gogh settled in Auvers-sur-Oise in the house of Dr Gachet, a friend of many artists, in­cluding Pissarro and Cezanne. There he simplified his compositions to achieve greater expressive focus, as in The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise. Tor­tured by the anguish reflected in his final canvases, in July of that same year he shot himself in the chest and died two days later, on July 29.

Little known during his lifetime, Van Gogh’s work greatly influenced both the Fauves and the Expressionists.

Article courtesy of ‘The beginner’s guide to Art’, translated from the French by John Goodman, edited by Brigitte Govignon.  The article was brought to you by Blue Horizon Printing, experts in quality canvas prints.

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