Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands and was the son of a Protestant pastor.
Early 1880s, Van Gogh began painting. First still lifes, like the famous potato eaters (1885),
and then farmers, miners and ordinary people he used to met. In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris, and lived with his brother Theo. Here, Van Gogh was quickly aware of innovative young artists and took this opportunity to evolve within his style by using a more coloured technique.
In February 1888, Van Gogh left Paris for Arles and ther, he painted landscapes and scenes of Southern life. He began to use more curves and pure colors: yellow, green and blue in particular as in ” Nuit étoilée – 1889 “.
At that time, Van Gogh seems to have a very positive and spiritual vitality. It is in this period that he persuaded Paul Gauguin, met in Paris, to join him. Unfortunately, after less than two months of working together, their relationship deteriorated really badly and ended with the famous argument during which Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor and cut, on the same night, the lobe of his left ear ! He did an autoportrait being injured with his ear bandaged….as you can see, it’s said that it was his letf ear which was cut but on the painting, it’s his right ear which are bandaged….
A few months later, he went voluntarily to the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence where he painted like crazy. To this period a large number of masterpieces, including the Yellow Wheat with Cypresses, 1889.
In May 1890, the artist left the South and joined again his brother Theo in Paris. On 27 July 1890, he fired a revolver and died two days later.
Van Gogh let, in 9 years, an absolutely phenomenal work. Indeed in addition to the many letters written to his brother Theo (700 approx.), published in 1911 and translated into French in 1960, we are talking about more than seven hundred paintings and 1600 drawings.
Van Gogh seemed to be an extreme personality both in his madness and in his genius. Through his paintings, we can guess a Van Gogh very subtle and frenzy character. Even “Skull with cigarette-1886” has colors and we can imagine it “smiling” and having a good time.
Van Gogh died in the destitution and sold only a single painting in his lifetime… Today his paintings are among the most expensive of the world but during a long time he was an unknown and misunderstood painter – how strange !
Did he feel that he was sinking into madness and did he know he would die young to let such a fantastic collection of painting and drawings ??