This photo of Vincent, taken at age 19, 
it is only one of four photographs 
of the painter known to exist.
Vincent van Gogh
(30 March 1853 - 29 July 1890)

Vincent van Gogh was born near Brabant, the son of a minister. 

Anna Van Gogh 
(Mommy Dearest)

Theo Van Gogh

Photos of Goupil's in the Hague
(He worked in London)

In 1869, he got a position at the art dealers, Goupil and Co. in The Hague, through his uncle, and worked with them until he was dismissed from the London office in 1873. 


Sketch 1876

He worked as a schoolmaster in England (1876), before training for the ministry at Amsterdam University (1877). 

Churches in England c 1876


Houses near Islesworth England 1876
Photographs of Samuel Plowman & Eugenia Loyer 1878

After he failed to get a post in the Church, he went to live as an independent missionary among the Borinage miners.

Vincent, The Diggers (after Millet) November 1880
becheur2.jpg - 33340 Bytes
Jean-François Millet. 1814-1875. Les Becheurs (The Diggers). 1855-56. Etching. Delteil, Melot 13.iv. 9 1/4 x 14 (11 3/16 x 15 7/16). Unsigned. A fine impression printed in brown ink with plate tone. Printed on fine pale cream-colored laid paper. A very rich, warm impression. $7,500. 

 Miner's Wives Carrying Sacks April 1881
Worn Out September 1881 

Amsterdam 1881


Anton Mauve (1838 - 1888)

This prolific and popular Dutch realist painter's wife was van Gogh's cousin.  In December, 1881 Vincent went to Amsterdam to study with Mauve.  When Mauve looked critically at Vincent first attempt at a still life, he told Vincent: "I always thought you rather dull, but now I see it isn't true." It was at this point that Vincent embarked on a new journey--to be a painter.

Anton Mauve (Dutch, 1838-1888), Entering the Fold, c. 1885-8, drawing and watercolor on paper, 505 x 60.3 cm, Tate Gallery, London. 

Vincent's relationship with Anton Mauve was a valuable one, though extremely turbulent as well. Vincent was incapable of accepting any form of criticism about his works and, to make matters worse, Mauve strongly disapproved of Vincent's relationship with the prostitute, Sien. Eventually Mauve would break off communications with Vincent altogether.

Sien & Her Daughter 
Under an Umbrella February 1882 
Sien with a White Cap 1882
Sien Sewing with a 
Seated Girl April 1883



34. Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather August 1882


53. Interior with a Weaver & Child January-February 1884

54. Weaver & Spinning Wheel March 1884


62. Peasant Woman Peeling Potatoes February 1885

65. Study of Three Hands for Potato Eaters 1885



He was largely self-taught as an artist, although he received help from his cousin, Mauve. His first works were heavily painted, mud-colored and clumsy attempts to represent the life of the poor (e.g. Potato-Eaters, 1885, Amsterdam), influenced by one of his artistic heroes, Millet. 


He moved to Paris in 1886, living with his devoted brother, Theo, who as a dealer introduced him to artists like Gauguin, Pissarro, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec. In Paris, he discovered color as well as the divisionist ideas which helped to create the distinctive dashed brushstrokes of his later work (e.g. Pere Tanguy, 1887, Paris). He moved to Arles, in the south of France, in 1888, hoping to establish an artists' colony there, and was immediately struck by the hot reds and yellows of the Mediterranean, which he increasingly used symbolically to represent his own moods (e.g. Sunflowers, 1888, London, National Gallery). He was joined briefly by Gauguin in October 1888, and managed in some works to combine his own ideas with the latter's Synthetism (e.g. The Sower, 1888, Amsterdam), but the visit was not a success. A final argument led to the infamous episode in which Van Gogh mutilated his ear.
"In 1889, he became a voluntary patient at the St. Remy asylum, where he continued to paint, often making copies of artists he admired. His palette softened to mauves and pinks, but his brushwork was increasingly agitated, the dashes constructed into swirling, twisted shapes, often seen as symbolic of his mental state (e.g. Ravine, 1889, Otterlo). He moved to Auvers, to be closer to Theo in 1890 - his last 70 days spent in a hectic program of painting. He died, having sold only one work, following a botched suicide attempt. His life is detailed in a series of letters to his brother (published 1959)."

- From "The Bulfinch Guide to Art History"