What makes people want to spend millions to acquire particular paintings or stand in line for hours to see a museum exhibition of art? We have likely read many different accounts on the subject from art historians, curators and critics. But do they really answer the question? Descriptions of paint applications, color combinations, subject matter, composition all come in to play. When looking at a great work of art, all of those features are plainly visible. Walking through a street fair featuring original contemporary art will likely also invoke descriptions of paint applications, etc. One such street fair I attended recently had many very good paintings. Why aren’t some of those artists in museums? What sets certain ones off as different? I doubt it has anything to do with cutting off one’s ear but that does add to the drama! One guess of mine is energy and magnetism. There is a palatable energy that surrounds the works. That statement may elicit metaphysical connotations but that is too simplistic! The energy and magnetism certain paintings arouse defies the average explanation. People are magnetically drawn to some art. Van Gogh’s paintings invoke that magnetic energy. His sunflower paintings are well known world wide. Much has been written and said about his life and his work. Do those accounts actually explain why many of us will wait in line to catch a brief glimpse of the sunflowers paintings? Does that explain why one sunflower painting went for multi-millions at auction in recent years?
The Van Gogh museum website carries a wealth of information about his life and work: http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?lang=en The Yellow House Museum contains information on Van Gogh’s life at Arles where the sunflower paintings were created: http://www.parisprovencevangogh.com/arles/the-yellow-house