Thus did Van Gogh describe his series of sunflower paintings to his brother, Theo, whilst working on them in Arles.
Vincent started the project in the desire to welcome Gauguin as friend and mentor to the ‘yellow’ house in Arles.
Sunflowers and yellow are symbols of loyalty, friendship and happiness in many cultures. Indeed, Vincent’s paintings come with a smile and are instantly recognisable. They are his signature, his ‘branding’. A way in which he could explore colour, shapes, lines and techniques.
This, in part, accounts for the popularity of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers today: they are a kind of visual shorthand for the artist, whose dramatic and difficult life, culminating in his death from a self-inflicted bullet wound in 1890, continues to fascinate the public.
I like the fact that the remaining 5 sunflower pictures are now hanging in separate galleries and museums around the world – so that they can be appreciated globally.
- The National Gallery, London
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- Neue Pinakothek, Munich
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, Tokyo.
My purpose, today, is to celebrate you, most esteemed reader, and to spread cheer, smiles, sunshine (on this very grey day here in Suffolk) and to symbolise the friendship and loyalty of fellow bloggers throughout the world.
Van Gogh you rightly own “sunflowers”
Here is my tribute to you, my friends and followers and to the humble sunflower bringing sunshine and happiness around the world.
Elfin book projects