With rippling, agitated brushstrokes and bold, sometimes startling colors, the paintings of Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) reveal the competition between bliss and anguish that preoccupied the artist during his last decade of life. Between 1880 and 1890, van Gogh created more than two thousand paintings and drawings. Struggling against madness, he made art that shimmers and glows, revealing little of his life’s turbulence.
Though intensely driven, van Gogh was a deeply thoughtful artist who had the respect of his Impressionist peers. His images convey the earthy, spiritual joy he took in his surroundings, and to see the mundane through his eyes is to see it anew; his depictions of wheatfields, vineyards, and cottages, and the irises seen here, become surprising delights from an alternative world.
Though his genius remained largely unknown during his lifetime, today van Gogh is second only to Claude Monet in worldwide recognition and appreciation.