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 Vincent Van Gogh  (1853 - 1890)

/ GOE or GUCK/
About: Vincent Van Gogh


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Lived/Active: Belgium/France      Known for: self-portraits and sunflowers painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Vincent Van Gogh
1853 (Groot-Zundest, Holland)
1890 (Auvers-sur-Oise)


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self-portraits and sunflowers painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A colorist whose signature work reflected his personal struggle with madness, Vincent Van Gogh found little praise for his art during his lifetime, and with little self-confidence and plagued by depression and unhappy personal relationships, took his life when he was 37 years old. 

He was born in Holland to a family of culture and religious conviction reinforced by the father who was a pastor.  Van Gogh worked as a bookstore clerk, a preacher and an art-store salesman while studying art in Belgium.  His goal was to create happiness for others by creating beautiful paintings, and his early works were somber and muted.  In 1885, he discovered work by Rubens as well as Japanese prints, and both had a big influence on his future paintings.

He went to Paris in 1886, where he joined his brother, Théo, who was managing the Goupil Gallery.  Vincent studied with Fernand Cormon and lightened his painting palette from exposure to Impressionism and its artists including Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.  However, his health deterioriated as he was very nervous, drove himself hard by painting long hours and depriving himself of sleep with 'all-night' discussions. 

To change his routine, he went to Arles in Southern France with the idea of founding an art school.  He urged his friends to join him, and only Paul Gaughin obliged, which turned into a disastrous event because Van Gogh, suffering epilepsy, chased Gaughin with a razor and ended up cutting off his own ear.  From that time, he had fits of madness alternating with sanity, and was institutionalized at Saint-Remy for treatment.

In late spring of 1890, showing much improvement, he went to Auvers-sur-Oise to live, but shot himself two months later.  During his lifetime he had sold only one painting, and it was written that his "finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line."


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