Find Art Search

Search the gallery

Read our fantastic art blog and discover articles on our artists, paintings, prints, art history, Cornwall, France and so much more.

We have feature articles from the gallery, personal blog posts from our artists and a large back catalogue of posts and news articles going back over the years. Get a glimpse into our artists' lives and work.

Explore The Art Blog Now

Sunflower Power: How Sunflowers by Van Gogh Changed the Art World

  • 5 min read

Sunflower Power: How Sunflowers by Van Gogh Changed the Art World

Above: Artist Joanne Short in a field of sunflowers in France

Did you know that Sunflowers were Vincent van Gogh’s favourite flower? He painted Sunflowers multiple times, and the paintings have become some of his most famous works.

Above: 'Sunflowers' by Vincent Van Gogh. Open Edition Fine Art Print

Sunflowers are a symbol of happiness and joy, and Van Gogh’s paintings reflect this. In this blog post, we will explore the history behind Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings, as well as the work of contemporary artists Joanne Shortand John Dyer with Sunflowers.

Above: Bonnieux, Provence, France. Vintage Style Travel French Wall Art Poster Print by John Dyer

Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890)

Vincent Willem Van Gogh is a Dutch artist who was greatly influenced by the Impressionist artists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. He was good friends with artist Paul Gauguin and lived and worked alongside him in the famous 'Yellow House'.

The Yellow House by Vincent van Gogh

Above: Painting of 'The Yellow House (The Street)', by Vincent Van Gogh. Available as an open edition art print

Throughout his childhood, Vincent enjoyed poking around and experimenting with charcoal and pencils, but that didn't stop him from exploring other opportunities as he grew up. He dabbled in a handful of careers, including teaching in London and then acting as a minister. For a while, he worked in retail at a bookstore and art gallery until finally he decided to pursue art full-time when he was 27 years old.

Portrait of Theo Van Gogh by his brother 

Above: Originally thought to be a self-portrait, this painting is now believed to be a portrait by Vincent of his brother Theo

Much of his subsequent life is documented in the many letters he sent to his younger brother Theo.

Although he wasn't well-known while he was alive, today he is thought of as one of the most important and influential artists from his era. Many of his paintings are worth millions of dollars now. There are over 800 preserved oil paintings in addition to thousands of watercolour sketches and drawings that showcase his work.

 

Above: 'Wheat Field with Cypresses' by Vincent Van Gogh. Open Edition Fine Art Print

Sadly he was a troubled soul who spent several years in an asylum and famously cut off his ear. In 1890 at the young age of 37, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound leaving behind a legacy of artwork that has continued to influence artists young and old, to this day.

 

Above: Vincent Van Gogh Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Starry Night'

Aside from his Sunflower paintings, Van Gogh is famous for his paintings, 'Café at Night', 'Bedroom in Arles, and 'Irises'. During his life, Vincent painted over 20 self-portraits. Van Gogh's masterpiece is undoubtedly 'Starry Night'.

Above: 'Irises' by Vincent Van Gogh. Open Edition Fine Art Print

How many Sunflowers by Van Gogh are there?

Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh painted eleven sunflower pictures with a total of eighty-seven flowers? These ranged from between three and fifteen sunflowers in each vase or five paintings of two cut sunflowers. The Van Gogh sunflowers in a vase were all painted in Arles and the 'Two Sunflower' paintings were executed in Paris and are all oil on canvas.

Where can I find Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers?

Van Gogh's sunflower paintings are found and can be viewed worldwide, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art in the US to The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and the National Gallery in London. One was destroyed in a fire and another is in a private collection.

The Van Gogh museum and Vincent Van Gogh foundation

The Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is in Amsterdam and celebrates the work and life of this Dutch painter and national treasure. The museum has letters documenting the artist's life, drawings, watercolours and oils by Van Gogh, including a Sunflower Painting, an Iris Painting, the painting 'Bedroom in Arles' several self-portraits and many many more. There is a particularly interesting painting of a large sunflower in full bloom titled 'Allotment with Sunflower' 1887. This is an early work painted on the hill of Montmartre in Paris.

painting 'Allotment with Sunflower' by Vincent Van Gogh 

Above: 'Allotment with Sunflower' by Van Gogh

The three prints below that we have available at the John Dyer Gallery both show tall sunflowers in a similar garden situation.

 

Above: John Dyer Fine Art Print. Open Edition Cornish Art Print. 'Collecting Flowers in a Cornish Garden'

 

Above: The Artist's Garden at Vétheuil' by Claude Monet. Open Edition Fine Art Print

 

Above: Gustav Klimt Framed Open Edition Art Print. ''Cottage Garden with Sunflowers'

 
The Vincent Van Gogh Foundation

The Vincent Van Gogh Foundation is in Arles, which is where he spent the last period of his life and where he created the main bulk of his work.

He only spent 15 months in Arles from 20 February 1888 to 8 May 1889, during which time he produced over 200 paintings and drawings and wrote some 200 letters.

 

Above: 'The Bedroom' by Vincent Van Gogh. Open Edition Fine Art Print

The 'Fondation Vincent van Gogh', Arles, open since April 2014, shines a light on the work of Van Gogh as well as contemporary artists influenced by his style.

"The goal of the Foundation is to provide a reference point for the life and work of Van Gogh, in the city in which he arrived at many of the defining images of his artistic career, and equally to invite contemporary artists to express their connection to the artist through their own creations."

Sunflower paintings by Joanne Short and John Dyer

Joanne and John have travelled to both Tuscany and Provence several times over the years and have created several paintings of sunflowers themselves. These are available as limited editions, open editions or posters in our online gallery.

John Dyer

"Van Gogh's sunflowers have always been an influence on my work; the bright colours, naïve style and thick paint inspire me to paint outside in the landscape and to react honestly and emotionally to the world around me"

 

Above: Limited Edition Print of the Italian Landscape by John Dyer. Girasole (sunflowers), Italy

Joanne Short

"I have always loved painting flowers, whether as part of the landscape or as still lifes. Painting large sunflowers is particularly satisfying and having done so myself, I can totally understand Van Gogh's obsession with capturing the beauty of these flowers. I was really excited to learn that a local farmer on the North coast of Cornwall had planted a field of sunflowers and felt I had to paint it!"

Cornish Sunflowers

 

Above: Vintage style poster by Joanne Short of 'Holywell Bay Sunflowers'

Provence

 

Above: Limited Edition French Print of Sunflowers by John Dyer. 'Fields of Colour, Bonnieux, Provence'

  

Above: Limited Edition French Print by Joanne Short. View through the Sunflowers, Bonnieux, Provence


Tuscany

 

Above: Mountain Flower Garden, Italy. Original Landscape Painting by Joanne Short. 12 x 12 inches oil on canvas

 

Above:Original Painting of the Sunflower Harvest in Tuscany, Italy. by John Dyer. 'Sun Dried Faces'. Italian Art Gallery

Sunflowers have been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries, and the paintings and prints by Joanne Short and John Dyer with Sunflowers are no exception. These beautiful works of art are inspired by Van Gogh's famous Sunflower Paintings, and depict sunflowers in various locations around the world. If you're interested in purchasing one of these stunning pieces, be sure to visit our online gallery today!