He is well known for his vivid and colorful paintings of flowers, landscapes, and portraits. Van Gogh painted quickly, with big brush strokes and a lot of passion. He was self-taught and inspired the style of art called expressionism.
Before Van Gogh became a painter, he tried different jobs, including schoolmaster, bookstore clerk, and preacher. He also worked as an art dealer and was exposed to different artists and styles of painting. His brother, Theo, convinced him to become a painter at age 27.
The Potato Eaters
When Van Gogh first started painting, he used dark colors to show the hardship and suffering of his subjects. After learning about impressionism, his paintings brightened.
Through his paintings, Van Gogh was able to express inner spirituality and how he viewed nature in a dramatic, imaginative, and emotional way. He once said, "real painters do not paint things as they are... they paint them as they themselves feel them to be."
Starry Night, probably his most famous work, was painted in an asylum in France. He admitted himself there after his 1888 nervous breakdown in which he cut his ear. The painting shows the view from his window at the asylum.
The Portrait of Doctor Gachet
During his lifetime Van Gogh sold only one painting. Now his paintings sell for millions. In 1990, The Portrait of Doctor Gachet was sold in three minutes at an auction for $82.5 million.
Self-portrait with Injured Ear
Not long after he painted The Portrait of Doctor Gachet, Vincent Van Gogh suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He died in his bed two days later with his brother, Theo, at his side. He was 37 years old. Most people at the time believed he committed suicide, but it was not ruled out that he had been shot by unruly local teenagers.
In less than 10 years, Vincent Van Gogh painted almost 900 paintings. "Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well." - Vincent Van Gogh.