The Starry Night and Mountainous Landscape from St Rémy are in North Lodge Park
Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin is on display at Breakers, Garden Street,
Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear is on display at Mighty Music on Price of Wales Road
Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, but after his death, he became one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In only a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life.
His work includes landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. During his life he experienced mental illness, depression and poverty, and he died when he was only 37.
The Starry Night and Mountainous Landscape from St Rémy were both painted during Van Gogh’s time in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence from May 1889 – May 1890. During this time he painted around 150 paintings, including 21 landscapes based on the view from his bedroom window, facing east, “Through the iron-barred window,” he wrote to his brother, Theo, around 23 May 1889, “I can see an enclosed square of wheat … above which, in the morning, I watch the sun rise in all its glory”. Van Gogh depicted the view at different times of the day and under various weather conditions, including sunrise, moonrise, sunshine-filled days, overcast days, windy days, and one day with rain. While the hospital staff did not allow Van Gogh to paint in his bedroom, he was able to make sketches in ink or charcoal on paper; eventually, he would base newer variations on previous versions.
VAN GOGH SELF PORTRAITS
There are 36 known self-portraits by Vincent, but just one portrait photograph.
More than 25 were painted while he was in Paris (1886–88). He was short of money and couldn’t pay models so he solved the problem by painting himself. He didn’t paint them because he was vain but because he wanted to practise painting people.
Most probably, van Gogh’s self-portraits show the face as it appeared in the mirror he used to reproduce his face, i.e. his right side in the image is in reality the left side of his face.
Something of Vincent’s personality can be found in each self-portrait. He described the last one he did in Paris as ‘quite unkempt and sad … something like, say, the face of – death’. That’s how he felt at the time: mentally and physically exhausted.