Vincent Van Gogh

(b. 1853 - 1890)

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Vincent Van Gogh

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``Drawing is the root of everything.``

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“Generally overshadowed by the fame and familiarity of his paintings, Vincent van Gogh’s more than 1,100 drawings remain comparatively unknown, although they are among his most ingenious and striking creations. Van Gogh engaged drawing and painting in a rich dialogue, which enabled him to fully realize the creative potential of both means of expression.

Largely self-taught, Van Gogh believed that drawing was “the root of everything.” His reasons for drawing were numerous. At the outset of his career, he felt it necessary to master black and white before attempting to work in color. Thus, drawings formed an inextricable part of his development as a painter. There were periods when he wished to do nothing but draw. Sometimes, it was a question of economics: the materials he needed to create his drawings—paper and ink purchased at nearby shops and pens he himself cut with a penknife from locally grown reeds—were cheap, whereas costly paints and canvases had to be ordered and shipped from Paris. When the fierce mistral winds made it impossible for him to set up an easel, he found he could draw on sheets of paper tacked securely to board.” (From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vincent Van Gogh, The Drawings)

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