Vincent Van Gogh: The Prolific - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Vincent Van Gogh: The Prolific

“Fields and Blue Sky” hangs across from my bed. I see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It is fresh, colorful, calming yet full of motion. It looks like a storm might be brewing but the sun is still shining.

Some say the “Wheatfield with Crows” was the last painting he did. Although beautiful, it is disturbing. It is probably not something I would want on my bedroom wall. It is chaotic and wild. The road weaves through a field of gold and the crows are frantic. I feel like I’m looking at a landscape through a psychedelic filter. Van Gogh’s current state of mind shines through.

Korenveld met kraaien

Wheatfield with Crows

In May of 1890, Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise. On July 27 1890 he shot himself and died on July 29. During those two months he painted almost a painting a day including several, including those shown above, in a large format – 40X20 inches. I first saw these paintings when I visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I saw them from a distance and was struck by how big and bold they were.

The museum holds the largest collection of Van Goghs. When Vincent died, he left his paintings to his brother Theo. Theo died five months later, in January 1891. The art eventually became the property of his Theo’s son, Vincent, who formed the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation in 1962. The Dutch government built the Vincent Van Gogh museum to show the paintings they had on loan from the Van Gogh Foundation and opened its doors in 1973.

I visited the museum for the first time in 1993. I had always liked Van Gogh and was familiar with his more famous works but I had no idea how prolific he really was. The permanent collection has 200 pieces of art spanning the years 1886 to 1890. Four years.

After two centuries of no trade with the West, Japan opened its ports to the West in the 1850’s. Europe fell in love with everything Japanese. Van Gogh was interested in and influenced by Japanese art. There was a room in the museum devoted to this. A couple of the pieces are done after Utagawa Hiroshige, who was known for his beautiful woodcuts. Van Gogh duplicated the scene giving it his own colors and interpretation.


Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake, Hiroshige, 1857












Bridge in the rain (after Hiroshige), Vincent van Gogh











If you are ever in Amsterdam, I highly recommend a visit.

About the author

Kathy Gamble

Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on You can also follow her blog at Contact the author.

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