Artist of The Week: Vincent Van Gogh (1853 –1890)

Updated: Jan 19




Vincent Willem van Gogh is a well-known Dutch post-Impressionist painter. During his lifetime, Van Gogh remained poor and unknown.


Facts


🎨Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, to upper middle class parents. He spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers before traveling to The Hague, London and Paris.


🎨He was deeply religious as a younger man and aspired to be a pastor, like his father. He became a teacher in England and then he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he sketched people from the local community


🎨In 1885 Van Gogh painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette then consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later paintings.


🎨In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the region's strong sunlight. His paintings grew brighter in color.


🎨In Arles, 1888 he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay


🎨Van Gogh increasingly feared that Gauguin was going to desert him. They quarreled about art and the situation, which Van Gogh described as one of "excessive tension," rapidly headed towards a crisis point. Deeply remorseful, he then cut off part of his own ear.


🎨This incident was the first serious sign of mental illness that were to afflict Van Gogh for the remaining days of his life. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals and swung between periods of inertia, depression and incredibly concentrated artistic activity. His work reflected the intense colours and strong light of the countryside around him.


🎨On May 9, 1889, he asked to be admitted to the asylum at Saint Rémy de Provence, a hospital for the mentally ill. In the year Van Gogh spent at the asylum he worked as much as he had at Arles, producing 150 paintings and hundreds of drawings.


Death


🖌Van Gogh went to Paris on May 17, 1890, to visit his brother, Theo.

🖌Theo had Vincent go to Auvers, just outside Paris.

🖌On July 27, 1890, he shot himself in a lonely field and died, two days later, in the morning of July 29, 1890.



Extra Facts


🖌Van gogh's brother, Theo, the most comprehensive primary source for understanding Van Gogh is the collection of letters between him and his younger brother, art dealer Theo van Gogh.

🖌They lay the foundation for most of what is known about his thoughts and beliefs. Theo provided his brother with financial and emotional support.

🖌The brother's lifelong friendship, and most of what is known of Vincent's thoughts and theories of art, is recorded in the hundreds of letters exchanged between 1872 and 1890. There are more than 600 from Vincent to Theo, and 40 from Theo to Vincent

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