In just five years he created paintings that the world now considers his masterpieces, and most of those were done in the latter part of those years. His works are valued in the tens of millions today, and many of the auctioned paintings have broken records.
His most iconic masterworks, Starry Night and Irises, are recognized the world over, and his paintings are arguably among the world’s most recognizable.
Tragically, I imagine the most common fact known about his life is, “He’s the one that cut his ear off.” The other is that Vincent van Gogh took his own life, but did you know he was only 37 years old when he did that?
Looking at any of his 43 self-portraits, I never once thought he was that young. Van Gogh had a troubled life and was it not for his younger brother, Theo, an art dealer who sold Van Gogh’s works, I’m not sure he would have created even one masterpiece.
Few artists have left behind as complete an account of their life and work as Van Gogh. This Sunday, his story told through his art and letters comes to Houston.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), presents Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art, an exhibition showcasing key passages in the artist’s life, from his early sketches to his final paintings, and chronicling his pursuit of becoming an artist. The exhibit runs from March 10-June 27.
There’s also an amazing lineup of programs, lectures, films and more to accompany the exhibition, including a film series, “Filming Vincent.” The film series showcases exceptional films about the iconic artist including “Loving Vincent,” the world’s first fully oil-painted feature film. It is composed of a whopping 65,000 painted frames.
“This exhibition will offer visitors a vivid portrait of Van Gogh’s evolution as an artist,” MFAH director Gary Tinterow said. “We are grateful to the Van Gogh and Kröller-Müller museums for lending so many of these rarely traveled masterworks from their collections for this exclusive presentation here in Houston.”
The lecture series has an amazing lineup of speakers, including experts from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
This is a rare opportunity to study his works and life in person with copies of Van Gogh’s letters that build out the narrative of the artist’s life. Incorporated throughout the exhibition, they trace his hopes of becoming a marketable painter in Paris, his longing to live among a community of artists, and his struggles with his personal relationships and mental health.
“The popular story of Van Gogh has tended to focus on his last few years and his death,” said MFAH’s David Bomford, curator of the exhibition. “But there is a rich and complex narrative that starts much earlier, one that is defined by Van Gogh’s tremendous drive to become an artist.”
The Museum is the only venue for His Life in Art, presenting more than 50 portraits, landscapes and still lifes. A full schedule of activities is available on mfah.org.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.