Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh, a Dutch Post-Impressionist, lived a short life from 1853 to 1899, but during his 10 creative years he gave to the world about 2,100 artworks, including 860 oil paintings. Ironically, he sold only one painting, “The Red Vineyard” for 400 Francs just before his death, whereas a century later one of his paintings, “Sunflowers” was sold for $39.9 million USD.
The artist used pigments of blues, reds, greens, white, and black, though his favourite colour was yellow for some mysterious reason. He applied very thick layers of oil paint on canvas, which was his idiosyncratic technique called impasto when the movements of brush strokes and palette knife were almost invisible.
Van Gogh suffered from seizures and mental instability, and his painting helped him maintain and restore his inner balance. He created his most famous works while he sought respite from his emotional suffering in a mental hospital. His first masterpiece “Potato Eaters” (1885), painted in earthy colours, was far from the liveliness of the trendy Impressionism, but when he moved to Paris the following year and fell under influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, he enriched and brightened his colour palette and diversified his techniques.
Van Gogh’s works are among the most often stolen. Thirteen paintings were stolen and found, but 85 are still missing. The master lived a hard and undervalued life. His last words were: “The sadness will last forever”.