Van Gogh began painting sunflowers after he left Holland for France in pursuit of creating an artistic community. The first sunflower paintings were created to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin's bedroom. He painted a total of twelve of these sunflower canvases. Seven of these were painted while in Arles in 1888 and 1889. The other five he had painted previously while in Paris in 1887. The Paris series show blossoms are laid casually on a surface in groups of two or four while in the Arles series, they are arranged in a large group in a case.
Vincent in a letter to his sister dated 21 August 1888 describes his friend Gauguin coming to live with him in his yellow house in Arles and that he intended to decorate the whole studio with nothing but sunflowers. Vincent took the sunflower as his own personal artistic signature, telling his brother Theo in a 1889 letter that "the sunflower is mine."
|Gauguin's The Painter of Sunflowers'|
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