Vincent Van Gogh
Although he is almost unknown during his brief lifetime, Vincent Willem van
Gogh, was born Mar. 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, the Netherlands and is today
probably the most known and appreciated representative of art. His work became
an important bridge between the 19th and 20th centuries; and it was particularly
influential . Van Gogh clearly showed artistic talent even as a child, but
neither he or his family imagined that painting would become his career. Instead,
at the age of 16, he went to work for Goupil and Company, an art gallery with
which one of his uncles had long been associated with; he was dismissed in 1876.
Other false starts included a job in a Dordrecht bookstore during the spring of
1877, theological studies at the University of Amsterdam, and from November 1878
to July 1879, service as a lay missionary in a coal-mining district in Belgium.
In 1880, Vincent chose art as a vocation and became dependent on his brother
for cash. Indeed, for the next 10 years Theo, who had also gone to work for
Goupil, sent an allowance to Vincent, encouraged him to work, and wrote
regularly. Vincent's thinking during his short career (approximately 750
paintings, 1,600 drawings, 9 lithographs, and 1 etching) was documented in more
than 700 letters that he wrote to Theo and others.
Van Gogh's early years includes all his work from 1879 through 1885. Between
August 1879 and November 1885 he worked in Etten, The Hague--where he received
some instruction from his cousin, Anton Mauve and in Nuenen, among other places.
In Nuenen he painted The Potato Eaters, his first important picture, which
underscores his lifelong interest in peasant subjects.
During the winter of 1885-86 Van Gogh studied at the academy in...