True recognition and success never came to Vincent Van Gogh during his abbreviated lifetime. The artist who took his own life at the age of 37 in 1890, was not considered an important artist by his contemporaries. In fact, The Red Vineyard sold in Brussels for 400 francs only months before his death, was the only painting he ever sold while he was alive. Today, Vincent Van Gogh is acknowledged as one of the greatest if not the greatest post-impressionist artist who ever lived.
Always a very troubled soul, Van Gogh spent time in an asylum for the mentally ill where he created many of his most memorable works. During the last decade of his life, the misunderstood artistic genius produced nearly 2,000 works of art. As such a prolific artist, Van Gogh saw the world in a different way from most and was able to express the images created in his mind on canvas. His gallery of works include almost 900 oil paintings and about 1,100 pencil sketches and drawings.
Owning any original Van Gogh would tickle the heart of even the most discriminating collector. Perhaps best know for his The Starry Night, the artist who could hardly support himself now can be included amongst the Great Masters whose paintings sell for millions. In fact, at auction, Van Gogh’s paintings can fetch more than $50 million dollars.
Van Gogh paintings hang in the world’s great museums. Some are in the homes of private collectors and others have been purchased by foundations that have come to realize the greatness in this man. His life was short and troubled but his legacy will live on forever in his works.
It is very rare for an auction to come up where Van Gogh paintings sold for less than a million dollars. If you are lucky enough to attend an auction with Van Gogh paintings, you will need to have very deep pockets based on the prices that previous Van Gogh paintings sold for at auctions in the recent past. Following are the 5 paintings that garnered the most money at auction.
1. Portrait of Dr. Gachet
This most coveted of his works was also one of his final works. Sold at a 1990 auction in New York for $82.5 million, it set a record at the time for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. The subject was the Doctor who took Vincent into his house and cared for him for the last 70 days of his life.
2. Portrait de l’Artiste sans Barbe
One of a number of self-portraits, this depicted Vincent in 1889 without his well-known beard. The clean-shaven Van Gogh self portrait fetched $71.5 million in 1998.
3. Portrait of Joseph Roulin
A close friend of Van Gogh while he was institutionalized, this painting expressed his admiration for his friend and the artist used all of his skills to make one of his most critically acclaimed works. It sold to a private collector for approximately $58 million.
Painted while confined to the Asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole, it was purchased for $53.9 million in 1987 by Allan Bond. It was later sold to the Getty Foundation for an undisclosed sum.
5. Peasant Women Against a Background of Wheat
Casino owner Stephen Wynn acquired this masterpiece along with several others. The painting was subsequently sold along with Gaugin’s Bathers for a total price in excess of $100 million.