Vincent Van Gogh
The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has produced some of the world’s most popular, most beloved and most expensive paintings. Despite his great success, he was also known as a tortured, lonely artist who many felt was mad or at least on the verge of insanity. It is a testament to his immense talent that today, a century after he has died, the world still remembers Vincent Van Gogh.
Of course, we have to acknowledge the fact that not everyone who remembers Van Gogh does so entirely because of his art. People also remember Van Gogh because of the story that has been immortalized in songs about how he cut off his ear and committed suicide because his genius was not recognized during his time. But the history books reveal that this may not exactly be the case. While it is true that Van Gogh had bouts of madness, it is also true that he his work was greatly praised by his fellow artists and radical art critics just before his death. It seems that the story has intertwined both myth and reality.
As an artist, Van Gogh was actually a late bloomer and he only spent about 10 years on his craft. Before becoming an artist, he was primarily an art dealer and a teacher in England as well as a preacher in Holland. At the outset, most of his work consisted of somber colors until he was influenced by Impressionism in Paris and his style quickly developed. In his 10 years as a painter, Van Gogh produced around 900 paintings and 1100 drawings. His most famous works were actually created during the last two years of his life. Records show that he was prolific during the last two months of his life, producing 90 paintings during that time.
Contrary to popular belief, Van Gogh did not become an overnight sensation immediately following his death. In fact, his post-mortem fame was gradual, but was spurred tirelessly by his widowed sister-in-law who was devoted to promoting his artworks. Eventually, memorial exhibitions were mounted in Van Gogh’s honor in Brussels, Paris, The Hague and Antwerp. This was soon followed by hugely successful retrospectives in Paris (1901 and 1905), Amsterdam (1905), Cologne (1912), New York City (1913) and Berlin (1914).