Van Gogh’s Sunflowers: An Artist’s Escape to Happiness!

A collage of Van Gogh's Sunflowers on a yellow background.

Art is a foyer where life is celebrated in its purest form. From the tempest of emotions to the outburst of passion, it embraces each and every nuance along the way. 

Being a prominent form of expression, have you ever wondered about a painting from an artist’s perspective?

The fuel of inspiration, the evocative thought behind a dynamic piece of art, these might seem like jargon to us. But, these jargons might be a significant feature of a particular artwork.

Let’s understand these notions with an immaculate piece of art by the Dutch ace painter.

Van Gogh Sunflowers painting is an art series produced in 1888-1889. 

This series of paintings by Van Gogh is a perfect example of how an artist testifies to his emotions using a blend of colors and brush strokes. 

Van Gogh painted a sequence of 5 paintings in this Sunflower painting series. The theme of this art series completely aligns with its title. 

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Van Gogh has produced a series containing paintings of sunflowers in different styles. The majority of them are kept in vases. 

Well, what’s outstanding about an artwork that appears to be a regular floral portrait at a glance? Let’s check it out. 

History behind Sunflowers 

Every painting by Vincent Van Gogh is immensely layered. In order to understand these artworks in detail, it’s important for us to get acquainted with the historical facts behind  them. 

To be precise, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is a representation of events that took place in Van Gogh’s life from 1888-1889. 

These paintings of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers represent the timeline of his life very evocatively. 

The Dream 

Vincent Van Gogh was undoubtedly a complex man. His ideas were mostly outside the box and sounded unrealistic and bizarre to many people. 

One such instance took place in the city of Arles, in the south of France. Where Van Gogh wished to start his own art gallery. 

For that, he demanded support from his post-impressionist artist friend, Paul Gauguin. As a true friend, he arrived for the artist’s help, but the series of events that followed left everyone in doubt.

Van Gogh’s Psychotic Behavior

After Gauguin left Arles, Van Gogh became an alcoholic and started abusing himself.  

He started visiting bars regularly, spent all his earnings on alcohol, and lost control of his actions. 

He became incompetent at handling criticism and even cut-off his ear once.

Only Van Gogh’s Sunflowers field gave him a sigh of relief in these hard times. 

Artistic Significance

Every action exhibited on the canvas has a certain motive embedded in it. It can be anything from a cloud of emotions to a politically agitated rage. 

Van Gogh Sunflowers unfolds a few of his choices in accordance with his emotional histogram. His painting style and choice of colors depicted his emotions profoundly. 

As an artist who significantly contributed to multiple art forms, Van Gogh excelled in many painting styles. 

He chose a homogenous color palette for the Van Gogh Sunflowers painting series and used it diligently to portray his feelings. 

For Van Gogh, yellow acted as the color of happiness and upliftment. Its bright and luminous nature always captivated Van Gogh as a viewer. 

So he used yellow as a base color for every painting in the Sunflower series. He also made the statement that vibrancy does not depend on the number of colors. 

He created a vibrant vibe with just yellow, along with its different shades and blends with other colors. 

Theories Surrounding Sunflowers by Van Gogh 

An image of Vincent Van Gogh while painting.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The Gauguin Factor 

The Famous French artist Paul Gauguin was not just a close associate but a good friend of Vincent Van Gogh. Many of Van Gogh’s paintings used to get feedback from Gauguin.

In accordance with this fact, Paul Gauguin’s presence proved to be significant in the creation of sunflowers. 

Van Gogh’s inspiration for painting a yellow color scheme was derived from Paul Gauguin’s upcoming visit to his house in Arles, France. 

This fact regarding the painting of sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh was also witnessed in a letter Van Gogh wrote to his sister on August 21, 1888. 

He mentioned waiting joyfully for Gauguin to come to live with him in his yellow house in Arles. 

However, Gauguin’s visit only made Van Gogh miserable afterwards. As I have mentioned in the earlier section of this blog. 

Personal Attachment 

After the creation of the Sunflower painting series, Van Gogh wrote a letter to his brother Theo in 1889. It was mostly about his attachment to those paintings. 

Indeed, Gauguin was a source of inspiration for the creation of this masterpiece. But Van Gogh also had a personal connection with the painting of sunflowers. 

He quoted “The Sunflowers are Mine”, portraying his love and affection for one of his finest paintings. 

Van Gogh referred to the painting of Sunflowers as his artistic signature!

Themes and Symbols

The Color of Happiness!

Van Gogh's Sunflowers with it's vibrant color scheme.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The primary use of yellow in Van Gogh’s Sunflowers created a cloud of questions for various art critics. 

Using yellow to paint the sunflowers is justified, but painting the background with a darker shade of the same color raised many questions. 

Van Gogh's Sunflowers with it's vibrant color scheme.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

However, Van Gogh’s reception of yellow was one of upliftment and happiness. His ideology made this painting a glimpse of happiness for him. 

A Benevolent Bond

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is not just an artwork representing glee, but also an apt depiction of a very passionate friendship. 

This painting embodies the story of an unconditional friendship between Van Gogh and Gauguin. It started with Van Gogh’s dream of opening a mesmerizing art gallery in Arles.

He wanted Paul Gauguin to partner with him so they could fulfill their dream of having their own studio and living in it. 

However, Gauguin only agreed to visit Van Gogh in Arles, once his brother Theo Van Gogh agreed to pay for his visit. 

After reuniting with Van Gogh in Arles, Gauguin expressed his passion for Van Gogh’s vision of creating an immaculate art gallery. 

A Diaspora of Blossoms

One of the paintings from Van Gogh's Sunflowers series.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

Van Gogh has painted a complete bunch of flowers in a single vase. There are buds, blooming flowers, completely bloomed blossoms, as well as old and dried flowers. 

The artist implied the dynamic and uncertain nature of life using this motif in Sunflowers painting. 

Sunflowers in complete bloom have rounded petal tips, and the ones that seem to be drying up have pointed petal tips. 

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This feature explains the transcendental nature of human behavior with time and experience.  

Composition and Analysis

Positioning of Sunflowers by Van Gogh

Van Gogh's Sunflowers with calculative positioning on a background.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

If there’s anything that can change the viewer’s perspective just by a centimeter, that is the positioning of the object. 

Being a master of many painting styles, Van Gogh was an expert at placing objects precisely. His excellence is quite visible in Sunflowers painting. 

There are seven paintings of Sunflowers series, and each one of them contains the sunflowers painted in the center of the frame. 

They seem equidistant from all four sides of the frame. Van Gogh kept diagonal distancing in mind while painting Sunflowers on canvas.  

Outlining of Subjects 

Van Gogh's Sunflowers with zoomed images of flowers.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the painting are crafted with an essence of liberalism. Their outline seems to be inspired by pointillism. 

Pointillism was widely used in painting the solid part of the subject, as it was more of a coloring technique. Hence, using it for outlining subjects was unconventional back then. 

However, Van Gogh always figured out ways to accomplish what he wished for in his artwork. 

Brush Strokes 

Being an emblem of joy, the Van Gogh Sunflowers series contains a very unique style of painting. He painted Sunflowers masterpiece very free spiritedly. 

So the brush strokes seem very free, and the paint seems to be flowing away from the outline. 

Van Gogh inculcated the flowing paint stroke technique in order to express his euphoric emotions. 

Lighting and Color

 Van Gogh's Sunflowers on turquoise background.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)


Van Gogh’s obsession with the use of yellow in this painting of sunflowers is evident and justified on many occasions. His vision was to adore this artwork and feel a sigh of joy at every glance. 

He used chrome yellow pigment while painting sunflowers on canvas. It’s a synthetic pigment that is light in color and can cover large volumes of canvas with a small amount being used. 

Nevertheless, Van Gogh might’ve been unaware of this pigment’s light sensitive nature. This fact unfolded with Sunflowers undergoing multiple research projects. 

Since these Sunflower paintings are more than 100 years old and they’ve been in various places, the luminous exposure has also been dynamic for these artworks. 

Many of them started experiencing discoloration due to that. The happy yellow turned vaguely olive green!

Homogenous Vibrancy 

Color palette of Van Gogh's Sunflowers.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned earlier, Van Gogh used different shades of yellow, yet he ended up creating an essence of vibrancy in this painting of Sunflowers.  

Despite the risk of putting the vibrancy of his artwork at stake, Van Gogh decided to paint the sunflowers, the background, and even the vase yellow. 

The Sunflowers painting by Vincent Van Gogh might not surprise a layman, but it’ll always be remembered as his personal memoir. 

Indoor Lighting 

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are set in a room. So the element of sunlight is non-existent. 

However, Van Gogh did a very decent job of highlighting the sunflowers using the nuances of indoor lighting. 

The trajectory of light is not defined by the artist, as any kind of shadow is not visible. In this case, a light right over the top of the vase can be contemplated. 

Suggested read: Explaining Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear (Van Gogh Ear Story)


The Sunflowers painting is a famous artwork amongst everyone who knows art. As it testifies to the Dutch painter Van Gogh’s expertise in every sense. 

Certainly one of the most talked about painters of all time, Van Gogh was a humble genius. His paintings portrayed the pains and sorrows he suffered in a very ecstatic way. 

Depicting pain as pain is easier than portraying it joyfully. But Van Gogh did it with immaculate expertise. 

Famous painting Sunflowers fall under the umbrella of his greatest artworks alongside The Starry Night and Cafe Terrace at Night. 

It was received as a deeply rooted artwork, representing a token of happiness for pain-struck Vincent Van Gogh. 

Its Appeal Today

A still from a British television series Doctor Who.
(Image Source: Rotten Tomatoes)

Popular paintings like Sunflowers often end up inspiring the next generation of artists. They have been adored by viewers for centuries. 

Van Gogh’s awe-spiring artworks have a dedicated home known as The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are there in museums and galleries, but they have inspired and intrigued many people in the cinema world as well. 

A very famous British television show, “Doc Who,” presented an episode in their 5th season depicting a meeting between the protagonist and Vincent Van Gogh. 

It’s a completely utopian representation and portrays Van Gogh’s emotions very aptly. 

It surely elevates the aesthetics of its surroundings. By looking at this beauty, have you ever thought of owning a masterpiece like this?

You might wonder, Van Gogh Sunflowers would cost you a fortune to own!

Trust me, an exact replica can be bought for a few hundred bucks!


“Pain can also be a tool to create a revolution.” These words stand true when it comes to Van Gogh’s paintings. 

His agony gave birth to some flawless artwork. He presented his pain with different emblems of happiness and joy. 

This thing can only be done by someone with ultimate proficiency in art. 

Who knew that a completely abhorred and ignored man would end becoming one of the most celebrated artists of all time. 

Vincent Van Gogh was a true pioneer whose unconventional schemes were not accepted and respected by society. 

So he decided to carve his canvas with his emotional ideologies and thoughts. 

Author’s Note

Hello dear readers, 

Thank you for reading my blog about Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

I hope my writing and research did justice to your curiosity and interest. 

We publish this type of interesting and informative content on our website regularly. Check out our blog page for more such content pieces. 

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1. How much is Van Gogh Sunflowers worth?

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers’ price is reportedly worth a whopping $100 million, as it was once auctioned for the same amount by a Japanese insurance company.

2. How to paint Sunflowers by Van Gogh?

You can start by understanding the inspiration behind the artwork (Read our blog), then get acquainted with the style and technique of the paintings involved. After that, start with outlining the floral subjects and keep your brush strokes light and free. Don’t forget to study pointillism in detail.

3. How did Vincent Van Gogh feel after producing the painting of Sunflowers?

Van Gogh Sunflowers were an escape for him. He felt very joyful while gazing at them. He created this series only for himself to keep it as a memoir while adoring his precious happiness.

4. How did Vincent Van Gogh die?

Van Gogh’s death shook the art community and society on a greater level. The apparent reason for his death was a gunshot on the belly that occurred approximately 30 hours before his death

5. What did Van Gogh experience on Sunflowers field?

Sunflowers always captivated Van Gogh as a viewer. Van Gogh once said “These sunflowers are not my favorite flowers, but they leave me mesmerized with each and every glance”.

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