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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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During Vincent van Gogh’s hospitalization in the asylum at Saint-Remy, he completed a series of three paintings entitled Wheat Field with Cypresses. The most well-known copy, currently at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, was painting in July 1889. The National Gallery of London also owns a version that was created in September of the same year. In one of his many letters to his brother Theo, van Gogh wrote, “I have a canvas of cypresses with a few ears of wheat, poppies, a blue sky, which is like a multicolored Scotch plaid.” Van Gogh himself considered this to be one of his most successful paintings. The thick, swirling landscape, now known as the signature style of his asylum years, reveals the tumult within the artist, and yet, van Gogh noted with pleasure the “sun-drenched” atmosphere and radiant scenery.