Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Van Gogh Syndrome

The Van Gogh Syndrome

Vincent Van Gogh was a genius. He was a great artist. He challenged the norms and produced powerful art. Van Gogh was unique. He was a master of his craft. He was a prolific artist.

Yet – that was not enough. Van Gogh expected the art to sell itself.

During his lifetime Van Gogh was not appreciated for his work. In fact, I read that he sold only one painting while he was alive – and the purchase was secretly made by his brother. His brother bought the painting to encourage Vincent. As the story is told, it had the opposite result. When Vincent Van Gogh discovered his brother’s well-intentioned deception – Vincent was angry and became more depressed.

Instead of being encouraged by his brother’s support, Vincent Van Gogh was more depressed at the lack of public appreciation.

If you are in business for public appreciation – than get out of the business fast.

Because public appreciation comes and goes. And media appreciation is most fickle. One day you are the rose – the next day you are the thorn.

Vincent Van Gogh never realized that he was first a business owner – that his number one job was to sell his art. His number two job was to market his value. His number three job was to paint. Be clear on your job priorities.

Now he is dead and his paintings sell for millions of dollars. Don't fall victim to the Van Gogh Syndrome. Don’t wait for your death to be your greatest marketing event.

George Torok

Power Marketing

1 comment:

Roger C. Warren said...

George, you are incorrect on several points.
First, Vincent van Gogh never expected his artwork to sell itself. He was well trained in the art marketing business. Aside from the clergy, Art Maketing was THE family business. His brother Theo was his marketer and invester in his artwork, and they both agreed that the work would do better to be set asided for a time when it would be appreciated, than to sell it below its value.
Second, Theo bought several of Vincent's works for the firm, Goupil & Cie, as an investment for the firm. He did this for Paul Gauguin as well, in order to finance future paintings.
Third, several of Van Gogh's paintings were sold in his life-time -- only one for which he received money. Money for the others was retained over a rent dispute.
And further, Vincent's ever-changing style in artwork was designed specifically for marketing -- and he was Oh, So correct, and ahead of his time, which he was well aware of. He always wrote about what he was working on and WHY.
He KNEW of his works value. What he didn't know was that he would be shot before he (or his brother) could reap the benefits.
Vincent was VERY clear on his job priorities. He produced the paintings, and the art marketing firm of Goupil & Cie would sell them. That was ALWAYS the agreement between his brother Theo and him.
You, George, are the one who doesn't have priorities straight. Produce the product first. Then sell it.
Those who try to sell a non-existant product first, and then produce based on sales, will always find themselves in a bind.