It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. Vincent van Gogh
He painted over 700 paintings in his final 10 years. His greatest work was done in the last 3 years of his life.
Following his last stay at the “Asylum for the Insane”, one of many in which he spent periods of his life, he was released into the care of his doctor for the last few years of his life.
Often in the garden, Vincent painted the flowers we now see in his work
Only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime despite the desperate attempts of his brother Theo and Theo’s wife,
two of the few who stayed loyal to him throughout his life.
Vincent, undeterred by his lack of monetary gain or notoriety, kept painting…
Today it is van Gogh and Picasso that hold the record for the highest price paid for a work of art. Vincent van Gogh’s last painting sold in the 1990’s for nearly $100 million.
Sadly, one summer day in July, 1890
in the wheat fields of southern France he so often painted,
Vincent van Gogh ended his tumultuous life with a bullet to the heart.
He was 37 years old.
Oddly it was not the bullet that killed him. It passed through, missing his heart and lodged against his spine. However infection followed and he died 29 hours later. It is thought that it was soon after painting “Daubigny Garden”, seen below. Experts believe this painting shows signs of not yet being finished… We will never know.
I look at his work today and see things that speak of a gentle wisdom far beyond those years, a perspective on humanity that can only come from deep human suffering.
I am awed by van Gogh’s work, his use of color and line, his passionate vision and determined will to keep painting, how he almost never gave up.
I will always weep when I think of the tremendous mental and emotional anguish that brought about the end of his life despite his desire to live.
Had he not suffered from periods of severe mental illness, of mania and psychosis, at a time when there was little treatment available, perhaps he would not have gone that fateful summer’s day.
His last words as he lay dying from the gun shot wound were,
The sadness shall last forever…
That he might have found a gentler way to be the artist that he was.
If you hear a voice within you say
‘you cannot paint,’
then by all means paint,
and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent van Gogh
“Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers”
by Paul Gauguin