Vincent van Gogh was one of the world’s greatest artists, with paintings such as ‘Starry Night’ and ‘Sunflowers,’ though he was unknown until after his death. Vincent van Gogh was a post-Impressionist painter whose work — notable for its beauty, emotion and color — highly influenced 20th-century art. He struggled with mental illness and remained poor and virtually unknown throughout his life.
In the fall of 1880, van Gogh decided to move to Brussels and become an artist. Though he had no formal art training, his brother Theo offered to support van Gogh financially.He began taking lessons on his own, studying books like Travaux des champs by Jean-François Millet and Cours de dessin by Charles Bargue.Van Gogh’s art helped him stay emotionally balanced. In 1885, he began work on what is considered to be his first masterpiece, “Potato Eaters.” Theo, who by this time living in Paris, believed the painting would not be well-received in the French capital, where Impressionism had become the trend.
Nevertheless, van Gogh decided to move to Paris, and showed up at Theo’s house uninvited. In March 1886, Theo welcomed his brother into his small apartment. In Paris, van Gogh first saw Impressionist art, and he was inspired by the color and light. He began studying with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Camille Pissarro and others. To save money, he and his friends posed for each other instead of hiring models. Van Gogh was passionate, and he argued with other painters about their works, alienating those who became tired of his bickering.
Vincent van Gogh completed more than 2,100 works, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings and sketches.Several of his paintings now rank among the most expensive in the world; “Irises” sold for a record $53.9 million, and his “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” sold for $82.5 million.
Van Gogh firmly believed that to be a great painter you had to first master drawing before adding color. Over the years Van Gogh clearly mastered drawing and began to use more color. In time, one of the most recognizable aspects of Van Gogh’s paintings became his bold use of color. This is evident in both Van Gogh’s landscapes and his still life paintings