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“Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh 127

“Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh

“Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh, painted in 1888 is one of four paintings of sunflowers by Van Gogh in his “Arles Sunflowers” series. Sunflowers were symbolic of happiness for Van Gogh. The “Arles Sunflowers” series was painted in Arles and was intended to decorate Gauguin’s room in the house that he rented in the South of France. He and Gauguin worked there together for three months. “Sunflowers” was the painting that Van Gogh was most proud of and it is one of Van Gogh’s most famous works and one of the most reproduced.

In this painting, the flowers are built up with thick brushstrokes to evoke the texture of the seed-heads. Van Gogh wrote to his brother:

“I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now in the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 flowers … it gives a singular effect.”

This painting was created during a period of optimism when Van Gogh awaited the arrival of his hero, the avant-garde painter Paul Gauguin. The lonely painter dreamed of establishing an artist community with Gauguin as its mentor.

Exploring Vincent Willem van Gogh


  • Can you see Van Gogh’s happiness in this sunflower painting?
  • Sunflowers made Van Gogh happy, what makes you happy?
  • Van Gogh dreamed of setting up a community of artists with Gauguin as its mentor. Was this realistic?
  • What makes you happy?


  • Title:             Still Life: Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers
  • Deutsch:       Stilleben mit Sonnenblumen
  • Français:       Nature morte: Vase avec quatorze tournesols
  • Artist:           Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:             1888
  • Medium:       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions  92.1 cm × 73 cm (36.2 in × 28.7 in)
  • Museum:      The National Gallery, London

Vincent Willem van Gogh


“The best way to know God is to love many things.” 
– Vincent van Gogh


Photo Credit: 1) Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons