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  • Vincent van Gogh
    Mar 30, 1853 – Jul 29, 1890
  • The Drinkers - Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, and died largely unknown, at the age of 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His fame grew in the years after his death
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The Drinkers
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  • The Drinkers

  • Vincent van Gogh
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  • February, 1890
    Oil on canvas
    23 3/8 x 28 7/8 in. (59.4 x 73.4 cm)
    The Art Institute of Chicago, United States.

    Van Gogh entered the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum at Saint-Rémy in May 1889 as a third-class voluntary patient. In the first weeks of his treatment he did not leave the area of the asylum and he only started to paint outside the walls in June 1889. During the rest of the summer the worsening of his condition did not make it possible for him to work outside, thus in July and August he painted mostly portraits and he copied pictures of his favourite artists, Millet and Delacroix. However, his attention was also caught by the peculiar figures of Daumier.

    The Drinkers was based on a woodcut after Daumier's original which was entitled The Psychology of Drinkers - the Four Ages. Van Gogh referred to the work only as Drinkers, probably the depicted types of people engaged him more than the allegorical meaning.

    In his copies, van Gogh did not make any subjects his own, he merely borrowed them. Daumier's Drinkers simply reminded him of his own excesses in Paris and Arles, but once he painted a copy, the picture re-established its intrinsic power and meaning.

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Other paintings by Vincent van Gogh:

Two Crabs
Two Crabs
The Sower (after Millet)
The Sower (after Millet)
Still Life with Three Books
Still Life with Three Books
Still Life with Lemons on a Plate
Still Life with Lemons on a Plate
Vincent Van GoghThe brilliant color and exuberant vitality of Dutch Post-Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh's paintings stand in stark contrast to his tragic, turbulent life. In 1880, after a series of failed careers, Van Gogh decided to become an artist. Lacking the resources for formal training, he acquired the necessary skills by sketching from books and prints. The artist's earliest works were scenes of peasant life, inspired by Breton and Millet. In 1886, Van Gogh traveled to Paris where he encountered the works of the Impressionists and the fashionable Japanese prints that were immensely popular in Parisian avant-garde circle.

The artist's Paris experience marked a dramatic transformation in his style and the beginning of an extremely productive period. Canvases from this period reflect a radical shift from the somber – paletted realism of his early works to vibrant expressionism. Inspired by the beauty of the area's rural landscapes, Van Gogh moved to Arles in 1888. The move coincided with the onset of the artist's struggle with mental illness and, after one particularly severe episode, he committed himself to an asylum at Saint Remy. While hospitalized Van Gogh continued to paint and it was here that one of his most compelling works, "The Starry Night" was completed.

The artist produced over one thousand works during the ten short years he devoted to painting. He sold only one painting prior to his tragic death, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.