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"A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see only a wisp of smoke." Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853–29 July 1890); post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art.
Vincent moved to Paris in 1886, after hearing from his brother Theo about the new colorful style of French painting. Wasting no time, he tried it out in several self portraits. He did this mostly to avoid having to pay for a model. ...
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 work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.
After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still....
“I am an artist — It’s self-evident that what that word implies is looking for something all the time without ever finding it in full. It is the opposite of saying, ‘I know all about it. I’ve already found it.’ As far as I’m concerned, the word, artist, means – ‘I am looking. I am hunting for it. I am deeply involved.'”
Vincent van Gogh
One contemporary who "got" Van Gogh:
In almost all his canvases, beneath this morphic exterior, beneath this flesh that is very much flesh, beneath this matter that is very much matter, there lies, for the spirit, that knows how to find it, a thought, an idea, and this Idea... (Review by G. Albert Aurier, 1899, at http://dappledwithshadow.com/post/1521801116)
Links to Van Gogh's complete letters: