And the winner is…Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night! Each year, the website overstockArt.com puts out a list of the Top 10 Oil Paintings (they’re reproductions, of course, and they’re only counting the works sold online). Last year’s winner was Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, but it was knocked out of the top spot (down to number 3) by van Gogh’s iconic, swirly-starred magnum opus.
The second most popular painting, incidentally, was also a van Gogh; Cafe Terrace at Night holds the number 2 spot for 2009.
It’s amazing that van Gogh, now seen as one of history’s most gifted artists, died relatively unknown at age 37. He produced most of his best-known works in the last two years of his life, and Starry Night was painted in 1889, after van Gogh committed himself to the hospital at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. Visually limited (his view didn’t go much beyond the hospital and its grounds), much of his work from this period contains images of olive and Cyprus trees.
I took some art history classes in college, and Impressionism and Post-Impressionism were always my favorite to study. (Monet and Renoir are two of my favorite artists.) But, I can totally see why Klimt’s The Kiss has made the list as well.
I remember when I first saw this painting: I was flipping through the textbook for one of those art history classes (I loved that book, even though it cost me almost 200 bucks. Thanks, ESU!), and I landed on this painting. There was something so visually arresting about it, and I’m not even a big Art Nouveau kinda gal. At first it’s sort of whaaaa…and then your eyes just start going around the painting, and you see it, and it’s just…wow. That’s why art rocks; it has an amazing ability to make you feel so much, and can literally stop you in your tracks. And like poetry, it can mean so many things to different people. I love it.
This year, overstockArt.com sold more than 45,000 oil paintings. They are one of the Web’s most successful distributors of wall décor items with over 10,000 daily visitors and 100,000 loyal customers. They began publishing this list annually due to popular demand—people like to stay on top of the current trends, and know which paintings are the most desirable. This goes for businesses as well; companies prefer to keep their interior decor modern, to impress customers and clients.
So go to a museum, go to an art show, heck, even go online! Expand your minds, people! Soak up as much as you can, and then spread the word. Art is awesome.
Oh, and here’s the full list, in case you’re interested (and you should be):
1. Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh
2. Café Terrace at Night – Vincent van Gogh
3. The Kiss – Gustav Klimt
4. Poppy Field at Argenteuil – Claude Monet
5. Luncheon of the Boating Party – Pierre Auguste Renoir
6. Garden Path at Giverny – Claude Monet
7. The Rest – Pablo Picasso
8. Red Cannas – Georgia O’Keeffe
9. Farbstudie Quadrate (Color Study of Squares) – Wassily Kandinsky
10. The Dream – Pablo Picasso