Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, and died largely unknown, at the age of 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound*.
In the years since his early and tragic self-inflicted death in 1890, Vincent van Gogh has become synonymous with massively distributed art and commercial success. Many of his paintings are featured on the list of most expensive paintings. His art has even inspired an Yves St-Laurent collection. The 2003 Julia Roberts Movie, Mona Lisa Smile, features a storyline greatly dependent upon the irony of van Gogh’s success as an artist.
He is a mythological creature, famous for his ear incident, a romantic ideal of the starving artist. Vincent Van Gogh has come to symbolize passion, vivacity and dedication to one’s art. And dedicated he was: during his short 10 year career, Van Gogh produced nearly 1,000 paintings and quite as many drawings. His best work was produced in a three year period.
You would think that Vincent van Gogh would have been recognized in his time for the genius he truly was. Yet, History dictates otherwise: during his entire life, van Gogh sold exactly one painting.