Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait, 1887, Art Institute of Chicago
Birthday/Birthplace Vincent Willem van Gogh
30 March 1853
Zundert, Netherlands
Deceased 29 July 1890(1890-07-29)
Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Resting place Cimetière d’Auvers-sur-Oise, Auvers-sur-Oise, France
49°04′30″N 2°10′42″E / 49.074885°N 2.17834°E / 49.074885; 2.17834
Citizenship Dutch
School(s) Anton Mauve
Credit for Painting, drawing
Cool work Sorrow (1882)
The Potato Eaters (1885)
Sunflowers (1887)
Bedroom in Arles (1888)
The Starry Night (1889)
Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890)
Wheatfield with Crows (1890)
Movement Post-Impressionism

Vincent Willem van Gogh (in Dutch & nbsp; Vincent van Gogh [vɪnsɛnt fɑŋ’ɣɔx]) (Zundert, the Netherlands, March 30, 1853-Auvers-sur-Oise, France, July 29, 1890) was a Dutch painter, one of the leading exponents of post-impressionism.

He painted some 900 paintings (including 43 self-portraits and 148 watercolors) and made more than 1,600 drawings. A central figure in his life was his younger brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris, who provided him with financial support in a continuous and disinterested manner. The great friendship between them is documented in the many letters exchanged since August 1872. Of the 800 letters that remain of the painter, some 650 were for Theo, the others are correspondence with friends and family.

Van Gogh was essentially self-taught. From a young age he had an inclination towards drawing. His first job was in an art gallery. He later became a Protestant pastor and in 1879, at the age of 26, he left as a missionary to a mining region in Belgium, where he began to draw people from the local community. In 1885 he painted his first great work, Los eaters de patatas. At that time his palette was composed mainly of shady and earthy tones. The light and preference for bright colors for which it is known came later, when he moved to the south of France, achieving its fullness during his stay in Arles in 1888.

The quality of his work was recognized only after his death, in a retrospective exhibition in 1890, considering himself currently one of the great masters of the history of painting. He greatly influenced twentieth-century art, especially among German Expressionists and Fauves such as Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck and Kees Van Dongen, and died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound; It is not yet known for sure if it was a suicide or involuntary manslaughter. Although there is a general tendency to speculate that his mental illness influenced his painting, the art critic Robert Hughes believes that the artist’s works are executed under complete control; in fact, the painter never worked in the periods when he was sick.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Biography

First stage of his life (1853-1869)

The family of Vincent van Gogh:
Above: his parents Theodorus and Anna Cornelia.
Below, from left to right: Vincent Willem, Anna Cornelia, Theo, Elisabetha Huberta, Wilhelmina Jacoba and Cornelius Vincent.

He was born on March 30, 1853. Son of an austere and humble Dutch Protestant pastor called Theodorus and his wife Anna Cornelia, Vincent received the same name as a brother who was born dead exactly one year before. On May 1, 1857 his brother Theo was born and both had four more brothers: Cornelius Vincent, Elisabetha Huberta, Anna Cornelia and Wilhelmina Jacoba.

During childhood he went to school in a discontinuous and irregular way, because his parents sent him to different boarding schools. The first of them in Zevenbergen in 1864, where he studied French and German, two years later he enrolled at the Hannik Institute (Tilburg) and remained there until he left school definitively at the age of 15. There his love for painting, although for the rest of his life he prided himself on being self-taught.

On his childhood, Vincent van Gogh commented: «My youth was sad, cold and sterile.»

First works

Art dealer

Vincent van Gogh in 1866.

Acequia (1872-73), juvenile drawing by Van Gogh (The Hague).

Since very young he showed a difficult character and a strong temperament. After leaving school and after a year in Zundert, van Gogh started working in 1869, at the age of 16, as an apprentice in Goupil & amp; Co. (later Boussod & Valadon), an important international art trading company from The Hague, of which his uncle Vincent was a partner, he adapted quite well to this new life, even writing:

It’s a wonderful business. The more time you work on it, the more ambitious you become.

Four years later he was transferred to London to provide works of art to local businesses. And it was in the British capital, where he had a first contact with Eugenia, daughter of Úrsula Loyer, patron of the boarding house where she stayed. He fell in love with her, but the girl was engaged and rejected him.In 1874, a year after his stay in London, he spent his family vacations in Helvoirt and confessed his discomfort for Ursula. He lived isolated, reading religious books and losing interest in his work.

In May 1875 he was sent to Paris, where his love for art grew. In an exhibition of drawings by Jean-François Millet he commented:

Whenentered the room of the Drouot hotel, where they were exposed,felt something like: be quiet because the ground you step on is sacred.

On January 10, 1878, in a letter to his brother Theo, he reported that he had been dismissed from the art gallery and that he would have to leave on April 1. The dismissal was because he interposed Your personal tastes about the sales you should make. In Boussod & amp; Valadon remained, however, his brother Theo, four years younger than him, who would work there from 1873 until his death and without whose abnegation the short and intense artistic career of his older brother would never have been possible. His family proposed that he open a gallery himself, where he could offer the kind of painting he chose. He rejected the idea and later insisted to his brother, also an art dealer, to leave his work since “the art trade was a farce”.


At the end of March 1876 he returned to England, where he remained for two years. At that time Van Gogh increased his religious fanaticism. He was enthusiastic about reading the Bible, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas of Kempis. After spending some time as assistant teacher at Ramsgate, he began working at Isleworth as an assistant to the Methodist preacher Jones, where he came to the pulpit of the church and read a sermon that had been scrupulously prepared. About this first sermon there is a copy that he sent to his brother Theo with phrases like:

Whenwas in the pulpit,felt likewas coming out of a dark underground cave in full light, and it is wonderful to think that, from now on,will preach the Gospel throughout the world.

He spent about six months in Dordrecht as an employee of a bookstore, and in May 1877 he moved to Amsterdam where he wanted to become a theologian. He had to give up and also abandon his desire to enter a Methodist school. He was rejected for not knowing neither Latin nor Greek and his difficulty to speak in public, although the reason was really his lack of subordination. It was becoming harder and harder for him to adapt to a certain order and submit to someone who directed him.

In 1879, feeling sorry for his deep fervor, he was sent as a missionary to the region of Mons to the mines of Borinage, in Belgium, where in extremely harsh conditions he carried out for 22 months an evangelizing work among the miners of the area. But with his fanaticism what he got was that they would come to fear him. He slept in a small barrack and his condition deteriorated every day. He also distributed to the poor what little he had. He said he was forced to believe in God in order to endure so many misfortunes. His superiors then decided to send him to Cuesmes, staying a full year in absolute poverty and in contact with the miners, for whom he felt great sympathy: “The coal workers and the weavers continue to constitute a race apart from other workers. and craftsmen andfeel for them a great sympathy andwould be happy if one daycould draw them, so that these still unpublished or almost unpublished types were brought to light (…) ». Then the small salary he received was eliminated. Before all this, he followed the advice of his brother Theo, who was already receiving financial help, and decided to change his life and devote himself to painting.

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