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This booklet was made so I could better understand the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh. I chose Van Gogh because I have always loved his work and his life story. Last summer I had the opportunity of seeing "The Starry Night" first hand at the MOMA and ever since I have been in awe of his talent in painting. His intriguing yet very saddening story was also what brought me to choose him for this project. Though he took his life at such a young age, he was able to construct so many extraordinary pieces of artwork in such a little amount of time which is so impressing to me. 

Vincent Van Gogh


By: Isabelle Chuy

Art History Honors

Home Life

Vincent Van Gogh was born into an upper-middle class family in the Netherlands. He was a quiet child who spent most of his time drawing. As a young man he worked as an art dealer and traveled constantly, he suffered with depression and psychotic episodes. He was known for drinking heavily and not taking care of his own well being. Financially, he was supported by his brother Theo. They kept contact through letters only.  Van Gogh was known for his suicide in his late 30s. He was remembered for his tragic life and his art illustrates that greatly. Due to the various mental illnesses he dealt with Van Gogh was not known for much else other than his works of art in painting. He lived a sad life and most called him a failed artist, it was not until after his death that his work became popular.

Post-Impressionalism

Post-Impressionism was led by Vincent Van Gogh, along with Paul C├ęzanne, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat. Post-Impressionalists rejects Impressionisms concern with the spontaneous and naturalistic rendering of color and light. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter, he also was apart of others periods like Pointillism and Neo-Impressionalism. Van Gogh had an emotionally evocative style to him and showed his expressions through his work. Though only one of his paintings actually sold while an artist, he is now one of the most influential artists of all time and made a great impact on western art. His dramatic style emphasized much more than a mere subject of his work, it had thoughtful detail and meaning in each one of his works through his dark, melancholy colors. Paul Gauguin was easily the most influential artist to Van Gogh, when he moved to Paris and met Paul that was when they began this Post-Impressionalist period in western art. Van Gogh was and is still today an influence on all artists, especially in his landscape paintings with his use of colors and light. 

The Starry Night (1889)

Location: MOMA

Location: J. Paul Getty Museum

Irises (1889)

The Potato Eaters (1885)

Location: Van Gogh Museum

The Yellow House (1888)

Location: 1 Avenue de Stalingrad, 13200 Arles, France

Wheatfield With Crows (1890)

Location: Van Gogh Museum

Location: Van Gogh Museum

Almond Blossoms (1890)

Of the six paintings my favorite two are "The Starry Night" and "Almond Blossom". Both are such beautiful works of art and just by looking at them you experience something. "The Starry Night" is of course legendary amongst his works and I love it because of all the different shades of night he uses and the various details throughout each section. I actually had the opportunity to visit the MOMA in New York City and got to see the painting for myself and it was so breathtaking. As for "Almond Blossom" it seems like such a peaceful work of art, and its so ironic coming from Van Gogh because he was nothing but peaceful. His work was melancholy and this piece makes me happy, it reminds me of summer with his bright use of colors and it gives me a warm feeling. I did some research and "Almond Blossom" to Vincent Van Gogh symbolizes awakening and hope, no wonder I enjoy it so much. As for the other four paintings, "Irises" also seems to be a bright painting full of hope and awakening. I liked "The Potato Eaters" for their dark, skeptical colors. It truly represents Van Gogh as he was but instead of it only being dark, I see the so called "potato eaters" in the painting as cartoonish and they remind me of children's movies, somewhat similar to the movie, "A Christmas Story". "The Yellow House" was interesting because its an actual house in France. When I looked up the location it had the actual address which was super different because when looking up where an artists work is, its usually at some museum not a house, especially not the house that is in the painting itself. Lastly, I loved "Wheatfield With Crows" for its bright summer colors, it proves that Van Gogh was not all depressing, he had some cheer in his life.