Among Vincents’ Sunflowers paintings are three similar paintings with fifteen sunflowers in a vase, and two similar paintings with twelve sunflowers in a vase. Van Gogh painted the first Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, and the first Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers in August 1888 when he was living in Arles. The later similar paintings were painted in January the following year. An earlier series of four still lifes using sunflowers were painted in Paris in 1887.Van Gogh began to paint them during the summer of 1888 and continued to do so into the following year. He painted one of the first versions to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin’s bedroom. The paintings show sunflowers in all stages of life, from fully in bloom to withering. The paintings were innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colours possible. In a letter to his brother Theo, van Gogh wrote: “The sunflower is mine in a way”.In March 1987, even those without interest in art were made aware of van Gogh’s Sunflowers series when Japanese insurance magnate Yasuo Goto paid the equivalent of USD $39,921,750 for Van Gogh’s Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers at auction at Christie’s London, at the time a record-setting amount for a Van Gogh painting.