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Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853 - July 29, 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on twentieth-century art. Though van Gogh began to draw as a child, he did not begin to paint until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works (including The Starry Night) during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His oeuvre comprises portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, and still lives. In 1886, van Gogh moved to Paris and underwent a significant transformation when confronted with the works of Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists. Famously, van Gogh lived out the remainder of his life in the south of France, where he eventually succumbed to mental illness and committed suicide. His paintings of his final years are perhaps his most seminal and renown, and their influence on modern art cannot be overstated.
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Visitors to the Cafe Van Gogh in Arles, France might find themselves facing a familiar scene; the small, corner coffeehouse is the setting of Vincent van Gogh's famous 1888 painting, Cafe Terrace at Night. Still serving its patrons refreshing beverages, the cafe at Place du Forum is now an iconic landmark due to van Gogh's representation of its terrace at night. The painting is one member of what is now referred to as the "trilogy" of van Gogh's paintings of starlit skies (the others being Starry Night Over the Rhone and Starry Night), though van Gogh never considered them as a series. Van Gogh himself noted in a letter to his sister how the painting, particularly in the center, depicts the dark night, yet without a trace of black paint. Purchased in 1914 by the Dutch collector Helene Kroller-Muller, one of van Gogh's earliest admirers, Cafe Terrace is now housed in the museum that she would come to found in Otterlo, the Kroller-Muller Museum, where is now enjoyed by millions of visitors.