Van Gogh’s works are among the world’s most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Willem van Gogh (1863 – 1850) posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art history. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work. In 1886, he moved to Paris where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still life and landscape. His paintings grew brighter as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the South of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers.
His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work
Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability. His depression persisted and Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a revolver, dying from his injuries two days later. Van Gogh’s paintings did not sell during his lifetime, during which he was generally considered a madman and a failure, although some collectors recognised the value of his work. His fame came only after his death, when he evolved in the public imagination into a misunderstood genius. His reputation grew in the early 20th century as elements of his style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists. He attained widespread critical and commercial success over the ensuing decades, and is remembered as an important but tragic painter whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist.
Today, Van Gogh’s works are among the world’s most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world’s largest collection of his paintings and drawings.