- NAME: Vincent van Gogh
- OCCUPATION: Painter
- BIRTH DATE: March 30, 1853
- DEATH DATE: July 29, 1890
- Did You Know?: After having been physically and psychologically unstable, Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear and offered it to a prostitute.
- EDUCATION: Brussels Academy
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Zundert, Netherlands
- PLACE OF DEATH: Auvers-sur-Oise, France
- Full Name: Vincent Willem van Gogh
- AKA: Vincent van Gogh
- AKA: van Gogh
- Nickname: "Christ of the Coal Mines"
Best Known For
Vincent van Gogh is considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt, although he remained poor and virtually unknown throughout his life.
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Work and solitude took its toll on van Gogh, and he started to act strangely from paint and turpentine fumes. Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and delivered it to a prostitute.
While hospitalized, van Gogh worked in a studio set up by his brother Theo. Inspired by a dream, Vincent van Gogh painted "The Starry Night." He took his own life one year later at age 37 in Auvers sur Oise, near Paris.
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Theo arrived on Christmas Day to see van Gogh, who was weak from blood loss and having violent seizures.
The doctors assured Theo that his brother would live and would be taken good care of, and on January 7, 1889, van Gogh was released from the hospital. He was alone and depressed. For hope, he turned to painting and nature,
but could not find peace and was hospitalized again. He would paint at the yellow house during the day and return to the hospital at night.
After the people of Arles signed a petition saying that van Gogh was dangerous, he decided to move to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. On May 8, 1889, he began painting in the hospital gardens. In November 1889, he was invited to exhibit his paintings in Brussels. He sent six paintings, including "Irises" and "Starry Night."
On January 31, 1890, Theo and his wife, Johanna, gave birth to a boy and named him after van Gogh. Around this time, Theo sold van Gogh's "The Red Vineyards" painting for 400 francs.
Also around this time, Dr. Paul Gachet, who lived in Auvers, about 20 miles north of Paris, agreed to take van Gogh as his patient. Van Gogh moved to Auvers and rented a room. In May 1890, Theo and his family visited van Gogh, and Theo spoke to his brother about needing to be stricter with his finances. Van Gogh became distraught about his future, thinking that Theo meant he was no longer interested in selling his art.
On July 27, 1890, van Gogh went out to paint in the morning as usual, but he carried a loaded pistol. He shot himself in the chest, but the bullet did not kill him. He was found bleeding in his room. Van Gogh was taken to a nearby hospital and his doctors sent for Theo, who arrived to find his brother sitting up in bed and smoking a pipe. They spent the next couple of days talking together, and then van Gogh asked Theo to take him home. On July 29, 1890, Vincent van Gogh died in the arms of his brother. He was 37 years old.
Theo, who was suffering from syphilis and weakened by his brother's death, died six months later in a Dutch asylum. He was buried in Utrecht, but in 1914 Theo's wife, Johanna, who was a dedicated supporter of van Gogh's works, had Theo's body reburied in the Auvers cemetery next to Vincent.
Johanna then collected as many of van Gogh's paintings as she could, but discovered that many of them had been destroyed or lost, van Gogh's own mother having thrown away crates full of his art. On March 17, 1901, 71 of van Gogh's paintings were displayed at a show in Paris, and his fame subsequently grew enormously. His mother lived long enough to see her son hailed as an artist and a genius.
Today, Vincent van Gogh is considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt. He completed more than 2,100 works, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings and sketches. Several of his paintings rank among the most expensive in the world; "Irises" sold for a record $53.9 million, and his "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" sold for $82.5 million.
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