Art Investment Profile

Van Gogh's famous self-portraitVincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) is one of the most famous artists in history. His life saga is well-known and his self portrait with bandaged ear is probably as well-known as the Mona Lisa. How ironical it is since van Gogh was hardly known during his lifetime.

Van Gogh is considered the leading post-impressionist, which also included the likes of Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Although they are all considered post-impressionists, their work is quite different despite some similarities of palette. There is little evidence that suggests that any of these artists thought of themselves as part of a recognized art movement although each was seeking to push art beyond Impressionism. Post-Impressionism is probably best understood as the transition period between Impressionism and Expressionism.

The Potato Eaters by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh early paintings show much of the influence of the Hague School who in turn were influenced by the realist painters of the French Barbizon school. This art was noted by its somber colors and depressing subject matter. Van Gogh’s first major painting, the Potato Eaters, typified this style. When van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886, his palette brightened and expanded. The works of Seurat and Signac, with their strong use of complementary colors, were popular. At the same time, he was strongly attracted to the graphic qualities of Japanese woodcuts.

In 1888, after seeing the paintings of Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli's, his palette was even to brighten more. And all of these influences were evidenced in the mass of work he produced when he moved to the French city of Arles. At Arles, he experienced an amazing burst of creative energy finishing dozens of paintings including Bedroom in Arles, Van Gogh's Chair, The Night Café, Cafe Terrace at Night and Starry Night Over the Rhone. These paintings in bright oranges, blues and greens would be van Gogh’s most cheerful and optimistic work.


Van Gogh's highest priced painting Outlook
As institutions and collectors swallow up the remaining Van Gogh available pieces, his prices are certain to climb. Although, the high price for his painting was reached in 1990, most experts agree the collector significantly overbought for the piece. In 2010, ten significant pieces came to auction. This year, there have only been two.
With most of the major oil pieces off the market, the investor may be limited to more minor oils and other media.
Recent Auctions
Everything you ever wanted to know about van Gogh
Images virtually of all of the paintings ever painted by van Gogh, plus a complete auction section.
On YouTube
The many faces of van Gogh from his many self-portraits.