4. Vincent Willem van Gogh
Officially, van Gogh is a Post-Impressionist, but his name can’t be ignored, so he is on our list! Vincent Willem van Gogh (born: March 30, 1853, Zundert, Netherlands – died on July 29, 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, France) was a schoolboy, junior clerk at an art firm, teacher, bookseller, student and preacher before he decided to become an artist at the age of 27. That decision would change the history of art forever.
In March 1888, van Gogh showed three paintings at the Salon des Indépendants – the annual exhibition of innovative art held ‘independently’ of the traditional academic Salon. His work drew a first, somewhat cursory review: ‘Mr. van Gogh paints large landscapes with a vigorous brush, paying little attention to the value and precision of his tones.’ – Gustave Kahn, in La Revue Indépendante, April 1888.
Of course if it weren’t for his disregard for the “value and precise of tones” we would never have the richly detailed landscapes, portraits and still lives that so precisely communicate the artist’s emotional state and continue to enamor generations of viewers. Through his work van Gogh, more than any other artist of his generation, manages to conquer all who see his paintings.