Vincent van Gogh Biography
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famous Vincent van Gogh Biography
Biography of the famous Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh
Born Vincent Willem van Gogh - Zundert, Netherlands - 30th of March, 1853 / Died - 29th of July, 1890 France
Popular Vincent van Gogh paintings include "Starry Night over the Rhone", "Cafe Terrace at Night", "Sunflowers", and "Self Portrait".
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Vincent van Gogh Biography


  • Vincent Van Gogh, more commonly referred to as Van Gogh, is best known for his post-impressionist work as a painter. Although he died in poverty, Van Gogh's paintings are some of the most well known and most expensive in the art world.

    Vincent Williem van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 to Anna Cornelia and Theodrus van Gogh near Breda in the southern part of the Netherlands. His father was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, a religious affiliation that permeated throughout the Van Gogh family. Both distant and close relatives of Vincent van Gogh were involved in theology or the arts.

    At the age of six, Van Gogh attended a local school taught by a catholic teacher but was soon brought home to study with his brothers and sisters when his parents hired a governess. In October of 1864 Van Gogh left his family to study a boarding school in Zevenbergen, a departure which caused the young boy to become extremely stressed. He finished his middle school education at Willem II College where he studied drawing under the guidance of Constantijn C. Huysmans. In 1868 Van Gogh returned home.

    At the age fifteen Van Gogh began working with the art dealer Goupil & Cie, a branch of the same art dealer with which his uncle worked. He moved to London in 1873 to work for another branch of the same firm, Messrs. Goupil & Co. Although he was earning more money than his father, Vincent van Gogh eventually became discouraged with the way he thought art was treated and he began conveying his opinions to clients. In 1876 he was terminated from his position.

    Van Gogh began focusing on religion instead and, after working at a boarding school in Ramsgate, he moved to Isleworth in Middlesex to relocate the school. The new position did not suit Vincent van Gogh and he began working as a minister's assistant with a nearby Methodist church. Soon afterwards, Van Gogh returned home and, after working a bookshop for a period of time, moved in with his uncle in order to attend the university in Amsterdam to study theology. He later left his uncle's home after failing in his studies and moved to Belgium to work as a missionary.

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  • After attempting to live in squalor in order to better understand those to whom he preached, Van Gogh was dismissed from the church and returned home to his parents once again. Van Gogh's father inquied about his son's sanity and wanted Van Gogh committed to the lunatic asylum in Geel. Van Gogh fled to Cuesmes where he started recording his observations in drawings. Although he had drawn in the past, Van Gogh focused more on his talent as the urgency of his brother Theo.

    In 1880 Vincent van Gogh traveled to Brussels to study under Willem Roelofs. The Dutch artist persuaded Van Gogh to study at the Royal Academy of Art where he learned the basics of form and anatomy. One year later Van Gogh returned to his parents and fell in love with his cousin. Despite his cousin Kee's refusal of marriage and his uncle's disgust, Van Gogh continued to pursue her, eventually causing his uncle to refuse any proposal. Van Gogh was openly distraught and settled in The Hague shortly thereafter.

    While in The Hague Van Gogh befriended and fell in love with a known prostitue named Clasina Maria Hoornik who had one child previous to meeting Van Gogh and one child while posing as his model. Although she later claimed this second child to belong to Van Gogh, the child's birth makes it unlikely to have Van Gogh as a father.

    After living The Hague for two years, Van Gogh moved back to the Netherlands to be near his parents. He fell in love with a neighbor's daughter, Margot Begemann, and they exchanged their mutual affections and desires for marriage. Their families disagreed and Margot attempted suicide. Although she survived, they did not marry.

    Van Gogh lost his father to stroke in March of 1885. Although deeply stricken with grief, Van Gogh continued with his art, creating his first famous piece, The Potato Eaters, for an interested group in Paris. Late that year, in November, Van Gogh moved to Antwerpen where he lived above a paint shop and ate very little. He continued his academic art studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts before moving to Paris in march of 1886.

    During his time in Paris Vincent Van Gogh overcame conflicts with his brother Theo and eventually met and befriended various artists including Paul Gauguin. He painted over 200 oil paintings during his time in Paris and left the city in February of 1888 to live in Arles where he eventually settled in the Yellow House. Van Gogh invited Gauguin to visit and, after some persuasion, the artist eventually arrived. After two months of painting and talking, Van Gogh and Gauguin began disagreeing and eventually argued openly about their opposing artistic views. Van Gogh stalked Gauguin, eventually cutting off his own ear and handing it to a prostitute for safe keeping.

    After thirty townspeople of Arles protested Van Gogh's residency, he committed himself to the clinic at Auvers-sur-Oise in May of 1889. He made peace with his brother Theo and they worked with Dr. Theophile Peyron to help Van Gogh recover. He left the clinic in May of 1890 to live closer to his brother but managed to fall deeper into depression. On July 27 Van Gogh walked into a field and shot himself. Two days later he died. He is buried at the cemetery of Auvers-sur-Oise.

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Pages related to the Vincent van Gogh Biography include: Claude Monet Biography, Brett Whiteley Biography, Color Quotes, and Famous Dutch Artists.

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  • "I am risking my life for my work, and half my reason has gone."
    Vincent van Gogh