Description of the artwork «Vase with twelve sunflowers»
The first year of his life in Arles was the year of yellow for Vincent. Van Gogh settled in the famous "Yellow house" (which, unfortunately, was completely destroyed during the Second World War), the only place that he really considered his home. He painted golden wheat fields and sunlit streets. Flowers, vegetables and dishes, even the sky and people’s faces were yellow in his paintings. But Vincent was especially fascinated by the endless fields of sunflowers, which weren’t even considered a flower in Arles, as they were grown for oil production.
In the autumn, Van Gogh was looking forward to the arrival of Paul Gauguin who agreed to live with him. Vincent believed that this would mark the beginning of the creation of the artist’s commune, which he dreamed of. However, it is unlikely that he knew that Gauguin settled in the Yellow House in exchange for financial assistance promised by Theo. At different times Vincent managed to quarrel with all his other artist friends, so that none of them answered his invitation. Gauguin would live with Van Gogh for only three months and would actually flee from Arles after the infamous story with the ear.
But all this happened afterwards. In the meantime, Vincent was full of hopes and expectations and wanted to give the guest a decent welcome. He was going to hang 12 paintings depicting sunflowers on the walls of Gauguin’s room (which was tiny, by the way). We don’t know whether Van Gogh managed to implement his plan (only four original paintings with sunflowers of this period (1, 2, 3, 4) and their later author’s copies are known), and whether he had enough space, but in any case, stepping into his room for the first time, Gauguin saw a very psychedelic picture. He did not appreciate the emotional impulse of his colleague and simply removed all the sunflowers from the walls. Vincent didn't seem to be concerned much about this, and his love of sunny flowers was not affected in any way. He made several copies of the Fifteen Sunflowers and, as they say, turned this flower into one of the most famous pictorial images with a slight movement of his hand. Gauguin, by the way, depicted Van Gogh at work later — naturally, Vincent was painting sunflowers.