Vincent Van Gogh 1853-1890

("Vincent's Life and Work." Van Gogh Museum)

Vincent Van Gogh was born in a small town in the Netherlands called Zundert on March 30th, 1853. He went to boarding school in his early years, but dropped out by his second year of high school and never returned ("Vincent's Life and Work." Van Gogh Museum). Van Gogh had a very emotional temperament; he was incredibly insecure and constantly questioning his identity. His instability ended up sending him to an asylum, in which he stayed for two years before dying in 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound (Impact, The Net. "Vincent Van Gogh Gallery.").

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process -Van Gogh

Important Ideas & Work:

  • 16-year-old Vincent was introduced to the art world while working for his uncle at an international art dealership called Goupil & Cie.
  • In his twenties, he tried to open an art school in Arles, France with his friend Gauguin. However, The Yellow House (as Van Gogh had hoped to name it), was terrifically unsuccessful. Vincent proved to be a horrible business partner: unstable, unhealthy, and disorganized. One particularly ugly argument between the friends resulted in Van Gogh attacking Gauguin with an open razor. This violent outburst sent Van Gogh to an asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment (Impact, The Net. "Vincent Van Gogh Gallery.").
  • Before Van Gogh went to the asylum, most of his paintings depicted Dutch peasant life and depressing rural landscapes:
Van Gogh's "The Potato Eaters", 1885
  • However, Van Gogh began experimenting with new painting techniques during and after his experience in the asylum.
  • He became obsessed with using his art to explain his struggle against madness and his comprehension of man & nature ("Vincent Van Gogh." Artsy).
  • He used a Post-Impressionistic style to depict colorful landscapes, portraits, interiors, and still lifes steeped with personal symbolism:
"Wheat Field with Cypresses" - 1889

Spread of Work & Impact:

  • All throughout Van Gogh's career, his paintings were very unpopular.
  • He tried to sell his paintings to make money, but only sold one in his lifetime. His main source of money was from his brother - Theo - and most of that money was spent on cigarettes, coffee, and art supplies.
  • This rejection and ridicule from the people around him only sent Van Gogh into an even deeper depression, and two months after leaving the asylum (in which he spent two years), he killed himself.
  • Although impressionism and post-impression were hugely unpopular at the time, Van Gogh and many of his contemporaries' work is now regarded as one of the most revolutionary periods of art in history - producing cubism, expressionism, surrealism, and dadaism as a result ("Vincent Van Gogh." Artsy).

Works Cited

  • Delonix, Kidal. "The Best Paintings of Vincent Van Gogh." Quantum Books. 18 June 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
  • Impact, The Net. "Vincent Van Gogh Gallery." Vincent Van Gogh Gallery. Van Gogh Gallery. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
  • "Vincent Van Gogh." Artsy. National Gallery of Art. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
  • "Vincent's Life and Work." Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

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