The REAL Vincent van Gogh

Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1989
Vincent van Gogh, (1853-1890)

Myth:  Van Gogh was a manic, possibly slightly deranged man who just spontaneously threw paint at the canvas.

Truth:  He was a very experienced artist (he made 900 paintings in ten years) and doggedly honed his skills. He created very deliberate compositions.
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Red Vineyard at Arles, 1888
Vincent van Gogh

Myth: Van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime.

Truth: Van Gogh sold ONE painting during his lifetime, Red Vineyard at Arles, to a Russian collector, Sergei Shchukin. This painting now resides at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
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Vincent's Bedroom in Arles, 1888 Digital version shows what may be the original violet walls.

Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1888
Digital version shows what may be the original violet walls.

Myth: In Van Gogh’s beloved painting of his bedroom in Arles, France, the walls were painted blue.

Truth: New high-tech research shatters Van Gogh myth! Van Gogh originally painted the walls of his bedroom a pale lilac, not blue! The reason…purple (lilac) is the complementary color of yellow. He experimented with new pigments. These new pigments, particularly the color red, proved to be unstable and the red pigment disappeared after a short time changing to blue.
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Don’t miss this video! Watch as Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces come alive!
Click here if you are unable to view the video.

Leave a Comment

2017-03-21T01:06:00+00:00

32 Comments

  1. Ann G. Dowell March 21, 2017 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Very interesting info.

    • Kirby Kendrick March 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Ohh, yes. And I think van Gogh just gets more complex and interesting as the art world evolves! Thanks Ann, for following the blog!

  2. Lou Burgess March 21, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Hey Kirby,
    Really interesting. I always learn a lot. Forwarded blog to my friend Sunny
    Hall who has a painting business called Paint and Gogh,
    Thanks Kirby. Hope you are well,
    Lou Burgess SMU ’64

    • Kirby Kendrick March 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      What a great name, Paing and Gogh! Thanks Lou for writing!

  3. Nancy March 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    So well known yet so misunderstood ❤

    • Kirby Kendrick March 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Misunderstood indeed, Nancy! I just got a comment from Richard….a story about van Gogh. I am going to post it. So fascinating Thanks for your comment!

  4. Richard March 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    That blue of the walls of his Arles bedroom has always been so arresting. It’s hard to know what to think about his use of color when it turns out the blue is simply a lucky accident…

    I remember an exhibit in Amsterdam that showed how he bundled a wide variety of strands of colored yarn haphazardly together in a large softball sized ball to sit next to his palette, after he had consciously decided to change his palette away from earth colors, apparently to inform new color choices.

    Thanks for sending, Kirby. Hope you are well,

    Richard

  5. Susanne Flowers March 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    One of the greatest painters ever! Too bad he was never recognized during his lifetime. I imagine many gallery owners, museum curators, wealthy elites, etc. considered him unqualified because he was self taught. Not really too different from today.

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Haha, Suzanne. I totally agree about the hubris of the art “elite” today! Thanks for the comment!

  6. Lydia March 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Hi. Kirby. Your telling about Van Gogh was so interesting…. and all new to me. Watching that video brought tears to my eyes. I bet Van Gogh would say that what the animation makes the viewer feel about the work is similar to how he felt when he painted it. I mean I think he and other artists must be in living connection with their subject when they paint. I can’t say this very well, because what I’m trying to say is more of a sense I have….not very easy to put into words. Thanks! I shall pass it on.

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Tomorrow when I am painting, Lydia, I am going to imagine my subjects animated and REAL! Thanks for the insight!

  7. Robert Glick March 22, 2017 at 7:53 am - Reply

    It is nice to think VG found peace and comfort in his painting that he could not fully connect with in his religion. His creative facility is nothing less than miraculous!

    La joie de vivre!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing Kirby.

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      I had never thought that VG’s painting gave him something his Christianity did not provide. Thanks for the insight, Robert!

  8. Sandy Bornstein March 22, 2017 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Thank you, Kirby. Great information and the video was fun!

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks for following the blog, Sandy! It is an honor to have an artist read it!

  9. Margo Palmer March 22, 2017 at 11:41 am - Reply

    It’s sad to think how often genius is connected to mental illness. Tho, Van Gogh was always lucid when painting. No one could paint like that without all his faculties. The many paintings he left behind are testament to more lucidity than mania. God! I love him!

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Me too Margo. My heart skips a beat and I can’t quite catch my breath when I see a van Gogh!

  10. david kremenak March 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Kirby, for a fresh, new perspective on Master Van Gogh. And your eponymous Lu has fashioned a lulu of a video as well. Thanks again.

    • Kirby Kendrick March 22, 2017 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Clever, clever, David! You always have unique comments. So interesting!

  11. Victor DePratti March 25, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    The myths maybe more interesting than reality. Whatever maybe the truth , he remains one of my favorite impressionists and historic portrayals of an artist. Kirk Douglas and his film be dammed.

  12. Kirby Kendrick April 3, 2017 at 11:54 am - Reply

    omment:
    Hi. Kirby. Your telling about Van Gogh was so interesting…. and all new to me. Watching that video brought tears to my eyes. I bet Van Gogh would say that what the animation makes the viewer feel about the work is similar to how he felt when he painted it. I mean I think he and other artists must be in living connection with their subject when they paint. I can’t say this very well, because what I’m trying to say is more of a sense I have….not very easy to put into words. Thanks! I shall pass it on.

  13. jan clark April 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I so enjoyed these paintings coming alive!
    Thank you dear Kirby for sharing your skills with us!
    Hugs and love,
    Jan C.

  14. Michelle Kantor April 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Beautifully done, Kirby!!!

  15. Allison April 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Interesting since we’ve been to Van Gogh museums in Aix en Provence, Amsterdam, and even his asylum in St. Remy. It really isn’t a myth that he had mental/manic issues, but I’ve never heard that he “threw paint at the canvas”.

    The fact that he painted 900 paintings in 10 years is truly remarkable, since it translates to a painting every 4 days. Those of us trying to practice the principle of “a painting per day” could outshine him, if only any of us had the remarkable talent he did or honed our skills as religiously as he did.

    I always enjoy your blog. Thank Lydia Pettis for acquainting me with it.
    Allison Wells
    Santa Barbara

  16. ann April 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Kirby,
    This is interesting. Thanks for sending it. I know NOTHING about art except what I like and don’t like. Hope you are doing well. Let me know if you come my way. Would love to see you.
    Ann

  17. Dawn April 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    I loved my Provence workshop and walking in Van Gogh’s steps!
    ???Dawn

  18. Richard L April 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Kirby, Always enjoy your blog. Thanks, Richard

  19. Linda April 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Very cool Kirbita‼ Loved the paintings coming
    alive‼

  20. Don April 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    dear Kirby. that video was great.

  21. Val April 3, 2017 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this. Saw some van Goghs in Edinburgh this last summer.

    Val.

  22. Courtney April 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Hi Kirby,

    I was chatting with a good friend of mine that lives in San Diego the other day about Art blogs, and stumbled across Kirby Kendrick’s Art Blog. We recently launched in San Diego, and thought it might be cool to connect with some local bloggers like you.

    We would love to send you to an upcoming Art class (on us) to write about your experience and share with your audience! For context, I work for CourseHorse, a company that makes local education more accessible, and some of our most popular classes are Art classes.

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