Vincent van Gogh

During Vincent van Gogh’s tumultuous career as a painter, he created a revolutionary style characterized by exaggerated forms, a vivid color palette, and loose, spontaneous handling of paint. Although he only actively pursued his art for five years before his death in 1890, his impact has lived on through his works. In 1886 Van Gogh left his native Holland and settled in Paris, where his beloved brother, Theo, was a paintings dealer. In the two years he spent in Paris, Van Gogh painted no fewer than two dozen self-portraits. The Art Institute’s early, modestly sized example displays the bright palette he adopted with an overlay of small, even brushstrokes, a response to the Pointillist technique Georges Seurat used, most notably in A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884. Works such as Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières); Grapes, Lemons, Pears, and Apples; and Cypresses show the influence of the Impressionists.