Biography of Vincent van Gogh

18 July, 2019
Vincent van Gogh, the demented genius, author of the fabulous "The Starry Night" remains one of the greatest artist of all time, yet little known during his lifetime.

Vincent Van Gogh, despite serious inner turmoil, almost never stopped painting. In eight years, he produced nearly 900 paintings and a thousand drawings. His post-impressionist work will be taken as a source of inspiration by Fauvism and Expressionism.


Vincent (Willem) van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Grrot-Zundert, A small Dutch village. Son of a Protestant pastor, he was immersed in religion from an early age.


His restless temper made it difficult for him to make friends. In 1857 his brother Théodorus (known as Théo) was born, who would become his greatest friend and confidant. They will have a long correspondence and Theo will repeatedly provide financial assistance to his brother. After an eventful schooling, in 1869 he became a clerk in the Goupil et Cie art gallery, a gallery founded by his uncle in The Hague. It will then go through the London branch and then the Paris branch.


Vincent reads a lot, especially the Bible. He lost interest in his work at the gallery and ended up resigning in April 1876. He then decided to turn to religious life. He will be a preacher in a working-class suburb of London before undertaking studies at the faculty of theology in Amsterdam. He abandoned this teaching considered too difficult but remained convinced of his spiritual vocation. He wishes to become a lay preacher. In 1879 he obtained an evangelization mission in Belgium. He goes to the Borinage miners and shares their extremely harsh living conditions. He translated this discovery of human misery in dark paintings like the Potato eaters. His involvement with the most modest is, however, considered excessive by his superiors and his post is not renewed.


After a phase of depression, he returns to the life of an artist.

In 1889, he joined his brother Théo in Paris. He discovered young Parisian painters, the Louvre and Japanese prints. He met among others Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, Gauguin and Bernard. In contact with them and under their influence, Van Gogh's paintings take on a little color. Although Vincent was able to do several dozen paintings during this time, his mental state was far from stable.


Departure of van Gogh for the South of France

In February 1888, Van Gogh left Paris and settled in Arles. Under the Provence sun, his painting style changed. His paintings are more colorful. He paints with large, curved strokes and makes extensive use of yellow, green and blue. He creates an inimitable style that reaches its peak with la Bedroom et The starry Night.


Dreaming of living in a community of artists, he invites Gauguin to join him in Arles. They live and paint together, but after two months their relationship deteriorates. On December 23, 1888, Vincent threatened Gauguin with a razor. That night, Vincent, probably suffering from a fit of dementia, mutilates his left ear. He wraps it up to go and offer it to his mistress Rachel, a prostitute. He was hospitalized the next day.


Vincent van Gogh at the gates of madness

After a brief return home to the Yellow House, Van Gogh voluntarily entered an asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in May 1889. He continued to paint, made a few copies of paintings by Millet and Delacroix but also works of its own, such as Yellow wheat. The painter is the victim of violent crises which weaken his memory.


Van Gogh decides to return to the Paris region, not far from his brother's home, in Auvers-sur-Oise. He is followed by Doctor Gachet, a friend of the Impressionists. The latter takes care of him and appreciates his art. Van Gogh will also portray it. He will create more than 80 paintings in two months!


On July 27, 1890, the painter put an end to his life. He shot himself in the chest and died two days later, then aged 37. He is buried in the cemetery of Auvers in the presence of his brother Théo, doctor Gachet and painter Bernard. 


As for the death of Vincent van Gogh, two American authors support the accidental murder theory. According to this, he was killed by two young people with a bullet in the chest. The theory is more plausible than suicide by gunshot in the chest, generally the suicide is more likely to put a bullet in the head ...

Tag (s):  Biography , Van Gogh

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