Vincent van Gogh
In present time, Vincent van Gogh is probably the most widely known and highly appreciated person of postimpressionism. During his brief lifetime, Vincent’s work went almost unknown to this world. His work now hangs in countless museums throughout the world and is considered priceless. His work became an important bridge between the 19th and 20th centuries.
The art-historical term, Postimpressionism was coined by Roger Fry a British art critic, who described the various styles of painting that flourished during the period from about 1880 to 1910 (Britannica). It was generally used for a convenient way to group together the generation of artists who sought new forms of expression during a pictorial revolution wrought by impressionism. Among these figures were Piere Bonnard, Paul Cenanne, Paul Gauglin, Odilon Redon, George Seurat, Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, and of course Vincent van Gogh (Britannica).
Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in the rectory of Zundert in Barbant (Burra). His father was a soft-spoken Dutch clergyman. The only thing Van Gogh got from his father, was the desire to be involved in the family church. Even at an early age, Vincent showed artistic talent but neither he nor his parents imagined that painting would take him where it did later in life. One of his first jobs came at the age of sixteen, as an art dealer’s assistant. He went to work for Goupil and Company, an art gallery where an uncle had been working for some time. Three of his father’s brothers were art dealers, and he was christened after the most distinguished of his uncles, who was manager of the Hague branch of the famous Goupil Galleries (Meier-Graefe). His parents were poor, so his rich uncle offered to take him under his wing and make him his student. While working he started to enjoy art, but he was unsuccessful as an art dealer. Vincent was eventually transferred to the London Branch, where he started a series of disastrous love affairs. After four years of work he lost his job due to the lack of his everyday responsibilities. At the age of twenty-three, Vincent’s mental state began to deteriorate. He developed a strong sense of religious devotion and took an unpaid position at a small boarding school in Ramsgate, England.
In 1880 Van Gogh started to focus on art as a career and not just a hobby. After a brief stay at the University of Amsterdam studying theology, Vincent chose art as a vocation and became dependent on his brother Theo for money. In the spring of 1880 his brother wrote to him and said, “Vincent, what is the matter?” (Burra). In the letter there was some money. Though he knew the proper thing to do was to return it, it felt good for him to have a square meal again. For the next ten years his brother, Theo, continued to send him money and Vincent began to paint feverishly to the end of his life. Theo and his parents regarded Vincent’s passion for books as the root of all his trouble (Meier-Graefe). They...