Day #19:Vincent Van Gogh on doing remarkable work.

Vincent van Gogh portrait painted by John Peter Russell in 1886.  Currently maintained at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  Online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Vincent van Gogh portrait painted by John Peter Russell in 1886. Currently maintained at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

“I can’t change the fact
that my paintings don’t sell.
But the time will come
when people will recognize
that they are worth more than the value
of the paints used in the picture”.

It was July of 1890. Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch artist living in the French village of Auvers, had created nearly eighty paintings in less than three months.

In recent weeks, he’d been attracted by the fields and plains not far from the Auberge Ravoux Inn where he lived that summer. At the height of his genius, the prolific artist was despondent.

He was thirty-seven years old, financially supported by an ailing brother and had produced more than eight hundred paintings which no one wanted to buy. (It is believed during his entire career he sold only one – The Red Vineyard – which he painted in 1888 and Anna Boch, also an artist, purchased in 1890.)

At dusk on Sunday, the 27th of July, Vincent walked to one of the fields in Auvers-sur-Oise. What happened there abruptly cut short the life of an artist whose paintings today are among the most sought-after – and valuable – in the world.

Van Gogh’s story although tragic, provides simple lessons in doing great work: it stands the test of time.More importantly, a great work is a great work no matter how long it takes the world to recognize it. Great artists (individuals) never go for the easy stuffs. They never yield to temptation to create shitty work for quick fame or money.

In today’s world, Vincent’s art is so desirable it is rarely available for purchase. When a painting does come on the market, it commands “top dollar” prices:

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers –
sold March 30, 1987
$39.5 million
Irises –
sold November, 1987
$53.9 million
Portrait of Doctor Gachet –
sold May 15, 1990
$82.5 million
Self-Portrait (Without Beard) –
sold Nov 19, 1998
$71.5 million
TOTAL – FOUR PAINTINGS $247.4 million

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