Artist: van Gogh, Vincent
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh – (March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890). Born to Anna Cornelia Carbentus and Theodorus Van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in the village of Groot-Zundert in the southern portion of the Netherlands.
Vincent was the eldest child of the Van Gogh family. He had two brothers, Theodorus and Cor and three sisters, Elizabeth, Ann and Wil. The name Vincent was very popular in the Van Gogh family; oddly enough Vincent was the name that his older stillborn brother his mother gave birth to a year before Vincent was born. It is unknown how much of a psychological impact this had on him during his life. Other family members that bared the Vincent name were his grandfather by the same name and his Uncle who went by Cent.
As a child Vincent was quiet, serious and empathic. He was schooled at home with Ann until October 1864 when his family sent him to boarding school in Zevenbergen. Although his boarding school was only 20 miles away Vincent was very upset about being sent away to school, which troubled him throughout his life. Van Gogh changed schools in 1866 and learn to draw in a systemic style from Constantijn C.Huysmans, a fellow artist that earned a certain amount of success in Paris as an artist.
After school, with the assistance of his Uncle Cent, Vincent went to work with an art dealer. Within just a few years the art dealer was so impressed with Vincent he was transfer to London in June 1873. It is said that this is one of the happiest times in Vincent’s life. He was only 20 and already making more money than his father. During his stay in London, Vincent fell in love with Eugénie Loyer, he landlord’s daughter. After some time he confessed his love to her, but sadly she did not feel the same. Eugénie was secretly engaged to another lodger. Vincent started to isolate himself from others and fanatically studied the Bible. Vincent’s Uncle and Father became concerned and ask that he be sent to Paris. While in Paris, Vincent became resentful of how art was treated. He started to observe that art was collected as a status symbol rather than for its enjoyment. On April 1, 1876 his employment was terminated.
After ending his employment he became convinced that religion was his true calling. Vincent returned to England and worked various jobs as a supply teacher and minister’s assistant. During his stay in Ramsgate he begin to sketch the landscapes and seascapes. At Christmas, he returned to the Netherlands to work in as a bookshop merchant. Vincent was not happy with this and spent a large portion of his time sketching and reading to Bible. He also had started to translate the Bible into several languages. His family supported his wishes to join the church and sent him to Amsterdam to stay with an Uncle while studying to enter the university. Vincent failed the exams and left his Uncle’s home for Brussels. He tried again in Brussels and failed to get into the Protestant Missionary School.
While in Brussels, Vincent moved to a small coal-mining district of Borinage after receiving a temporary post at a missionary. He decided the best approach to minister to the people would be to live like they did. For months he lived in a hut, slept on straw and was heard by the baker’s wife almost nightly to cry himself to sleep. The missionary was not pleased with his approach and he was dismissed from his post. After a few weeks, he adhered to his parent’s wishes and returned home. Vincent remained in his family’s home for a little over a year. During this time, Vincent and his father disagreed often and when Vincent left it was only after his father had made several inquires to the local insane asylum. In 1880, Vincent’s brother Theo suggested that he study art with Willem Roelofs, a prominent Dutch Artist in Brussels. Mr. Roelofs’ in turn persuaded Van Gogh to attend the Royal Academy of Art.
After attending the Royal Academy of Art, Vincent returned to Etten to stay with his parents while he sketched. He spent most of his free time with his recently widowed cousin, Kee Vos – Stricker. After a few months he ask her to marry him, which she flatly refused. Vincent approached her father for permission and he refused saying, “Vincent could not support himself financially how could he support a family? At Christmas, his father offered him money as a gift. After a bitter fight, Vincent left his family’s home for Hague.
In Hague, Vincent stayed with a cousin in law until he met Clasina Maria Hoornik also known as Sien, an alcoholic prostitute. Vincent’s father discovered the relationship and put a lot of pressure on Vincent to end the relationship. Vincent did end the relationship after a year, abandoning Sien. Sadly, she drowned herself in the Scheldt River after sending the children away to relatives.
In March 1885, Vincent’s father passed away from a stroke. Most of his painting at that time reflected his grieving. One well know painting, The Potato Eaters was the first to get Paris to notice Van Gogh. His brother Theo was his art dealer and complained greatly about the use of dark colors on impressionist type paintings. In March of the following year Van Gogh needed a change of scenery and moved to Paris to be with family. During his stay, Van Gogh worked with some of the premiere artists of the day like Monet, Sisley and Pissaro. His color palette also change to the brighter well know colors that he is remembered for today.
Van Gogh grew tired of Paris and moved to Arles with a fellow artist, Paul Gauguin in 1888. While in Arles, he began to paint stills and started working mainly from memory. This was a first for Van Gogh. His first painting from memory was The Red Vineyard, which he painted with Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh and Gauguin’s relationship started to fall apart. During one of their fights, Van Gogh severed part of his left ear and gave it with a prostitute named Rachel for safekeeping. He was hospitalized for several days. Theo decided it was time to have Vincent committed to a mental hospital 20 miles from Arles. Vincent had a caretaker assigned to him and continued to paint. Major portions of his well-known painting were done while he stayed at the hospital. Unlike many artists, Van Gogh was praised and though of as a genius in his time. The Artist Guild in Brussels honored him in 1890 during their annual exhibition.
Vincent’s depression began to worsen despite his recognition. In a manic stated during the month of July, Vincent went out to the middle of a field and shot himself in the chest. Within two days, Vincent dies. Vincent Van Gogh is buried in Auvers sur Oise next to his brother Theo.
[Article written by Brandy Johnson, bmjohns3 [@] uncc.edu]