What can you learn from Vincent Van Gogh?

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Vincent Willem van Gogh, 1853-1890

Everything you might ever want to know about Vincent Van Gogh is on the website of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I was fortunate to visit the museum for a day and it is truly a beautiful museum and a life changing experience. Go if you have the chance! Here are a few facts I learned:

  • Van Gogh was self taught
  • Early on, his choice of subject matter was greatly influenced by the painter Millet; he produced 21 copies of Millet's paintings in order to develop his technique. He was also strongly influenced by Japanese masters as well as Delacroix, Rousseau and Daumier.
  • After moving to Paris he changed his approach and began using brighter color and strong brushstrokes after seeing the Impressionists use of light and color.
  • He produced over 900 paintings and 1100 drawings over his short life, just 10 years as a painter.
  • He sold only one painting in his lifetime & only became successful after his death
  • His expressive use of color and lively brushwork heavily influenced Expressive painters including later Abstract painters. Matisse, Gauguin, Pollock and Klee are just a few painters who express the influence Van Gogh had on their painting styles.
  • Van Gogh is widely regarding as one of history's greatest painters who was a vital influence on the shift to modern art.

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Van Gogh, "The Potato Eaters", 1885


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Two paintings from the late 1880s demonstrating the influence of Impressionism and Post Impressionism on Van Gogh use of color and bold brushwork.


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