Vincent van Gogh is best known for his work as a painter. Most people will associate him with his extraordinary talent for colour and his ability to create unforgettable compositions
in oil paint thickly worked on canvas. The fame of his painted oeuvre has long overshadowed his work as a draughtsman. Yet Van Gogh made many more works on paper than on the canvas.
Indeed, before he even picked up a brush, Van Gogh was determined to master the basics of manipulating pencil, crayon or pen on paper. And his emergence as a draughtsman is every
bit as fascinating and as dramatic as his parallel development as a painter in oils.
Largely self-taught, Van Gogh believed that drawing was "the root of everything". His reasons for drawing were numerous. At the outset of his career, he felt it necessary to master
black and white before attempting to work in colour. Thus, drawings formed an inextricable part of his development as a painter. Van Gogh focused almost exclusively on drawing at
the beginning of his artistic career. Even when his attention turned more towards painting, from around 1884, drawing remained a passion. While living in Arles in 1888, he created
some extraordinary drawings of the Provencal landscape in reed pen, while later, at Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise, he experimented with rhythm and colours.
Vincent van Gogh's more than 1,100 drawings remain comparatively unknown, although they are among his most ingenious and striking creations. In addition to many preliminary studies,
Vincent van Gogh's drawings include highly ambitious, stand-alone works that testify to his capacity for artistic innovation.