moved to Arles, in the south of France, in 1888,
hoping to establish an artists' colony there,
and was immediately struck by the hot reds and
yellows of the Mediterranean, which he increasingly
used symbolically to represent his own moods
(e.g. Sunflowers, 1888, London, National Gallery).
He was joined briefly by Gauguin in October
1888, and managed in some works to combine his
own ideas with the latter's Synthetism (e.g.
The Sower, 1888, Amsterdam), but the visit was
not a success. A final argument led to the infamous
episode in which Van Gogh mutilated his ear.
"In 1889, he became a voluntary patient at the
St. Remy asylum, where he continued to paint,
often making copies of artists he admired. His
palette softened to mauves and pinks, but his
brushwork was increasingly agitated, the dashes
constructed into swirling, twisted shapes, often
seen as symbolic of his mental state (e.g. Ravine,
1889, Otterlo). He moved to Auvers, to be closer
to Theo in 1890 - his last 70 days spent in
a hectic program of painting. He died, having
sold only one work, following a botched suicide
attempt. His life is detailed in a series of
letters to his brother (published 1959)."
- From "The Bulfinch Guide to Art History" BOOKS