Vincent Van Gogh – Art for Sale on the Auction Block and in the Gift Shop

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Vicent Van Gogh was only able to sell a single painting during his lifetime. However, after death, the impressionistic painting of Vincent Van Gogh became some of the most celebrated and expensive paintings ever sold. Having started his painting career at the age of 27 and only finding some definition of success years later in Paris, Vincent Van Gogh’s repertoire is surprisingly deep. On the list of the most expensive paintings ever sold his rank quite high repeatedly.

There are numerous reasons for this. Foremost, he painted them recently enough that many of them are in the collections of private owners. Included in the library of contemporary art, Van Gogh’s paintings have been available to many collectors over the years. However, regardless of their relative newness compared to other worldly masterpieces, Vincent Van Gogh’s work is highly sought after and even his prints are among the most popular available.

Highest Selling Van Gogh Pieces in History

Almost all sold in the last 20 years or so; six of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces have sold for more than $50 million dollars. While many of his most famous works are kept in museums such as the Hermitage in Russia, the MET in New York and the Kroller Muller in the Netherlands, still more have been made available for private purchase at auction.

Because Vince Van Gogh painted so prolifically and his work was not deemed to be the masterwork that it is now when it was originally painted, many of his paintings found their way into private collections and have thus appeared time and time again on the auction block and will likely continue to do so.

The most famous and most expensive of these sales is that of the Portrait of Dr. Gachet, sold in 1990 for $82.5 million, equivalent to $130 million today. The painting’s whereabouts are currently unknown though. Other paintings of Vince Van Gogh’s to have sold for more than $50 million include Irises sold for $53.9 million in 1987, Portrait de l’artists sans barber sold for $71.5 million in 1998, A Wheatfield with Cypresses sold for $57 million in 1993, Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers sold for £24.75 million in 1987, and Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat sold for $60.8 million in 1997.

Where to Buy Prints and Copies

Because of the enduring fame and popularity of his images, Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, such as Starry Night, have become the most requested and reprinted poster and replica sales in the art industry. There are numerous places in which to find such posters and artwork. Any of the museums in which the paintings are sold you can often find and purchase such work. Around the internet, dozens of poster sellers and replica painters have produced his work again and again.

Because of the nature of Van Gogh’s work in particular, replicas of his work have circulated the art world for generations. There are numerous Viincent Van Gogh galleries dedicated to replicas and reimaginings of his work. Similar to the effect Da Vinci and Michelangelo had on their students and admirers 500 years ago, painters in the last century have flocked to Vinceent Van Gogh’s images and repainted them repeatedly. Therefore, it is common practice to find numerous reprints and copies of his work littering the art world, whether as a hobby or monetary practice, it is often hard to tell.

Vincent Van Gogh – Cafe Terrace at Night

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Vincent Van Gogh painted yet one more variant of his night sky work in Café Terrace at Night, completed while in Arles in 1888. Painted using oils on a canvas of 81 x 65.5 cm, Café Terrace at Night is one of Van Gogh’s best known paintings. It bears some striking similarities to the two other Starry Night paintings, but also a few variations.

Kept today in the Kroller-Muller Museum of Otterlo, Netherlands, Café Terrace at Night represented the fusion of much of what Van Gogh learned during his time in France with what he had already developed. His time in Arles in particular and in this painting has long been cited as an example of the Impressionist shift in his work going into the last two years of his life. Merely comparing this painting with the Starry Night over the Rhone which he completed later that month, the shifts are incredibly apparent.

The stars are much smaller and less absorbed in their own light in this painting. Also, there is a bright yellow wall that draws much of the attention in the painting. While the other paintings are known to focus the attention on the stars and force the observer to move the eyes about, Café Terrace at Night gives a point for the observer to relax and focus on a single point. In contrast, the dark city on the right of the painting creates a sense of balance that does not permeate his other paintings.

The café Van Gogh used as his centerpiece in the painting still exists in Arles, though it has now been renamed to Café Van Gogh and has long been a unique setting for a painting by Van Gogh, a man who typically did not use such warm colors and careful perspective depth. Despite its comparison to the other two Starry Night paintings, Café Terrace at Night is the first painting in which he painted the night sky. The famous precursor to Starry Night, Starry Night over the Rhone was painted later in the same month.

In Van Gogh’s own words, this work was a revelation, and he described it in great detail in a letter to his sister. He described the “immense yellow lantern [illuminating] the terrace, the façade, the side walk and even [casting] light on the paving stones of the road which take a pinkish violet tone.” He spoke of how much he enjoyed painting the café terrace on the street at night rather than sketching the night sky and working on it in a studio during the day.

He describes how the conventional depiction of night is too dull, utilizing only the most basic of white lights. The colors and tones of night are too great for such a simple approach though as he said even candles were awash with amazing tones of yellow and orange. This painting represents much of what Van Gogh would later attempt with color and form.