Vincent Van Gogh, tragic painter and one of the greatest artists in history, had created over 1,000 paintings, drawings, and sketches but only sold one single painting during his life time. His sensitive mind and consuming passion for art are shown vividly in his drawings. However, his poverty and insecurity about himself led him to mentally collapse from time to time.
Several of his works are exhibited in Taipei Historical Museum from December 2009 until the end of March 2010, and I managed to take an afternoon to visit them. The paintings are borrowed from Kröller-Müller Museum in Netherlands.
Van Gogh had drawn several of his own portraits; part of the reason was that his economic situation would not allow him to hire a model. In his portraits, his eyes often showed a hint of unsure-ness.
Van Gogh was born in Zundert, Netherlands in 1853; then his footprints suffused to Belgium, England, and France during his 37 years of life.
Most of his early works were done with black chalk and the models were the farmers and the local people from his area. He focused on the facial expressions and body movements of these labor workers. However, most of his early paintings also show an ambience of solitude and sorrow. Even when he depicted a landscape, the gloomy touch could be felt from the painting.
At year 1886, Vincent Van Gogh arrived to Paris and started to try various painting styles. His works became brighter and more colorful.
Among the works displayed, I like this one the most. This is an oil painting done on May 1889– when Van Gogh was hospitalized in an asylum at Saint-Remy in France. The title is simply called "The Garden of the Asylum at Saint-Remy."
This one is known as "Country Road in Provence by Night." However, there’s no such scenery in Provence. Van Gogh had combined several places in his memory to comprise this oil painting.
"Terrace of a cafe at night" was not exhibited but I bought a postcard of it. The yellow occupied a big part of the painting and is said to be Van Gogh’s favorite color. The cafe is real and still exists today.
These are two of Van Gogh’s paintings I’ve seen in Musee d’Orsay. The left one is "La nuit etoilee, Arles" (The starlight at Arles), an oil painting drawn in 1899. The other one is "Fritillaires dans un vase de cuivre" (Fritillaries in a Copper Vase), an oil painting done in 1886.
I can’t say myself a fan of Van Gogh’s paintings since I much prefer impressionism works by Monet and generally favor the colors intertwined with more harmonic atmosphere. As for Van Gogh, I can definitely see that he strived his energy to bring out the innermost of his soul in his works. However, it’s his extreme sensitivity that pushed him to produce such great works but also consumed himself mentally.
P.S. I also got a postcard of "The Garden of the Asylum at Saint-Remy," and then I just suddenly wondered…what if I mailed it out and wrote: "This place is beautiful, you should come too…"? Ok, fine, I guess it’s not funny…