Roses, 1890; Green Wheat Fields, Auvers, 1890
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) was born and raised in the southern Netherlands, where his father was a minister. Beginning at age sixteen he worked in succession as an art dealer, teacher, preacher, and missionary. While evangelizing in a poor coal-mining district, he began to draw in earnest. Dismissed by church authorities in 1880, Van Gogh finally found his vocation in art.
After studying art in The Hague and Antwerp, in March 1886 he arrived on his brother Theo’s doorstep in Paris. Theo, an art dealer, provided constant emotional and financial support throughout the rest of Van Gogh’s life. In Paris, Vincent’s art took flight. He worked with Camille Pissarro, who encouraged him to brighten his somber palette. And younger artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin influenced him to use color symbolically and for emotional effect.
Wanting to “look at nature under a brighter sky,” he moved early in 1888 to Arles, in southern France. He hoped the warm climate would relax him and that bright colors illuminated by a strong sun would provide artistic inspiration. Working feverishly, he pushed his style to greater expression with intense, active brushwork and saturated, complementary colors. He used those colors and the rhythmic surfaces of his heavily painted canvases as tools to communicate the spiritual power he believed molded nature’s forms.
The nature of Van Gogh’s illness is debated, but just before Christmas 1888 he suffered a breakdown. In May 1889, following periods of intense work interrupted by recurring mental disturbances, Van Gogh committed himself to a sanitarium in nearby St.-Rémy. He painted whenever he could, believing that work was his only chance for sanity. After a year there he returned north to Auvers to be closer to Theo; in July he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Pomegranate Communications, Inc. Cards printed on recycled paper stock using soy-based inks. Printed in Korea.
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