There was no doubt that Van Gogh loved nature. But there was something about sunflowers that made him paint even more than he already has. In fact, this is not just a painting, it is a series of several artworks and paintings. Sunflowers were one of Van Gogh’s favorite things to paint. There are many theories as to why this is so but a very interesting one is the theory of yellow.
There have been some rumors that developed over the years, that link Vincent’s love for the color yellow to drugs and his mental health. It was said that one of his physicians recommended for Van Gogh to take digitalis, to put a stop to his anxiety attacks, which led to some really bad seizures. The problem with this drug is that it is strongly linked to Xantopia, a vision deficiency which causes a part of one’s eye, the optical media to turn slightly yellow in color, leading to impaired vision with a predominance of the color.
Whether it was Van Gogh’s fondness of the color yellow or a drug-related issue was not completely verified in the records. But it did help in making his art more distinctive and unique to him.
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5 Facts About Van Gogh’s Sunflower Series
- The Sunflowers was not just one painting, but two sets of several paintings. These were created when he lived with his brother at the City of Light and continued on until he moved to Arles, South of France.
- A series of sunflower paintings were made for a fellow painter and mentor Paul Gauguin. He used these paintings to decorate his then home in time for Gauguin’s arrival. The two painters had plans of working together then, which they did and Gauguin was very impressed by Van Gogh’s talent and paintings, specifically those of Sunflowers.
- The colors used in his Sunflower series brought about by a groundbreaking discovery in the art world at that time. The vibrancy and depth of the paintings were achieved by groundbreaking new colors of manufactured pigments. Specifically chrome yellow.
- None of his several Sunflower paintings was ever sold.
- In 2017, a Facebook live stream by The National Gallery created a virtual experience reuniting the pieces from Van Gogh’s Sunflower series. This is the first time the Sunflowers were ever shown together to a collective audience, just virtually of course.
How much are they worth and where are they now?
Despite the many efforts made by museums to get the original pieces together in one roof, this was already impossible since they are fragile pieces worth a lot of money and travelling with it would pose a lot of risks.
As of today, they are scattered in four different places: The Four Cut Sunflowers are at the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo.The Two Cut Sunflowers are at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Kunstmuseum and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively.
Each piece is worth more or less $40 million.