I share my interest and fascination of Vincent van Gogh with many. He was a very interesting, unique person with his very own ideas of how to express what he saw through his paintings. Van Gogh said he did not want his pictures to look like a photographed picture they should express his perception of what he saw. As many other great artists and personalities he was not appreciated in his own time.

Van Gogh was very productive he painted some 900 paintings and 1100 drawing over a period of just 10 years. I admire all of his work but am most fond of his paintings from his time in Arles and Auvers. This was the period where the colors "exploded" and he expressed himself most strongly. Knowing that this was the time where van Gogh developed a mental decease/condition - one can only reflect upon this, and wonder if van Gogh's now stronger use of colors and more and more unique way of expression was directly related to his condition. Never the less it is remarkable that he did some of his best work in a period of increasing mental illness that finally leading to him shooting himself.

I think my favorite painting in his large catalogue of masterpieces is his portrait of Pere Tanguy.

The painting was painted during the winter of 1887-1888, shortly before he moved to Arles. Pere Tanguy had a shop selling paint and painting supplies for artists - reasonably priced. Among his customers was beside van Gogh people like Paul Cezanne, Gauguin and other of the artists of the time. At the back of his shop Tanguy had a small gallery where he had painting of van Gogh and others displayed. During this period van Gogh was inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints which are very prominent in the background of the painting of Tanguy. The portrait is quite special also in the was that there is very little depth in the painting - Tanguy almost melts in with the Japanese figures in the background - some of them appearing almost more alive than Tanguy.

Vincent van Gogh - Pere Tanguy
- Portrait of Pere Tanguy -

It is believed that only one of van Gogh's paintings were actually sold while he was alive. Almost everything he painted he send to his brother Theo (who was supporting Vincent through out). Theo, working at a gallery in Paris sells in February 1890 the painting - Red Vineyard - to Anna Boch for 400 francs. Anne Boch was a fellow artist knowing Vincent van Gogh through her artist brother Eugéne Boch. The Red Vineyard is a good example of the unique expression of strong colored paintings produced by van Gogh during his stay in Arles.

Red Vineyard

- Red Vineyard -

Vincent van Gogh - Wheatfield with crows
- Wheatfield with Crows -

Van Gogh painted Wheatfield with Crows in July 1890 one of the last paintings he made - only a few weeks before he shot himself. Many considered this painting as something in-between a artistic testament and his suicide letter illustrating his sense of hopelessness - a field with roads leading in to is but ending blind... as if he could see no way out for himself. Whatever was going on in his darkened mind the painting shows that in spite of (or maybe due to) his condition he still had the fantastic gift of turning motive, lines and colors into an expression of uniqueness.

" I have a terrible lucidity at moments when nature is so beautiful; I am not conscious of myself any more, and the pictures come to me as in a dream."

The close and shared destiny of Vincent and his brother Theo is underlined even as their lives end. Theo dies only six months after Vincent and his earthly remains are in 1914 moved and buried next to Vincent's grave in Auvers.