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Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, 18531890
Stairway at Auvers, July 1890
oil on canvas
19 11/16 x 27 3/4 inches
Museum Purchase 1:1935

What do you think makes Vincent van Gogh's work so easy to recognize?

The brilliant color, thick application of paint, and swirling brushstrokes all contribute to Vincent van Gogh's individual style. In Van Gogh's landscapes everything seems to be moving. In this painting brushstrokes sweep from the stairway in the center out to all sides of the canvas; the women sway back and forth like the curvy path they are walking down; and the stairway appears to be sliding down the hill. This painting of a street is filled with the bright blues, greens, and yellows of early spring, and the texture of the brushstrokes makes you want to touch the painting. Van Gogh was inspired by the old buildings in Auvers (oh-VAIR) and by the countryside around this town where he lived and painted during the last months of his life.

Find pictures of some other landscapes in this packet and compare Van Gogh's painting with one of them.

About the Artist
Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. After teaching for a brief period and working as a lay preacher, in 1880 he decided to become an artist. Van Gogh sold only one painting during his short career. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the letters written between the two describe the difficulties and aspirations that characterize Vincent's life. In 1886, Van Gogh met and became influenced by some of the leading painters of French Impressionism. Two years later he moved to Arles where artist Paul Gauguin joined him until tension between the two resulted in Van Gogh mutilating his own ear. In 1889, he voluntarily entered an asylum. Vincent van Gogh shot himself on July 27, 1890 and died two days later.

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