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Starry Night

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh    Image Code: V00551 Add to Favorites

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  • Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

    Vincent Van Gogh

    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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    Starry Night (1889) is perhaps the most famous of Vincent van Gogh's paintings. Painted after the 1888 breakdown that resulted in his hospitalization in the asylum at Arles, van Gogh sent the painting to his brother, Theo van Gogh, after its completion. While many believe the village below to be that of Saint Remy, it is in fact imagined, and is thought to be an amalgam of the French village and of his home in the Netherlands. The tumultuous, whirling colors are often interpreted as an expression of his internal turmoil, making it one of his most engaging works. Passed on to Theo's widow after his death, the painting eventually ended up in the possession of the Parisian gallerist Paul Rosenberg in 1938. Like many of his Jewish contemporaries, Rosenberg sold off many of his assets in order to preclude Nazi looting. In 1941, the Museum of Modern Art in New York bought the painting from Rosenberg's Manhattan gallery with the help of the Lillie P. Bliss bequest. It remains a keystone of the museum's collection to this day.