Vincent Willem van Gogh is born on March 30 1853 in a small Dutch town called Zundert. He is the oldest son of a clergyman and he grows up in a family with 5 siblings. Vincent is a silent child without a special aptitude for art and drawing.
At the age of sixteen, Vincent starts an apprenticeship at the office of an international art dealer in The Hague. In 1873, at the age of 20, the art company sends Vincent off to England. The young man visits the city’s museums and his appreciation for art grows every day. When his employer sends him off to France to work at the Paris office, Vincent starts to lose his ambition to become an art dealer himself. His interest in religion grows and the company decides to discharge Vincent. He then decides he wants to become a preacher and for the next four years he struggles with this ambition in England, but his choice of career is not successful.
Vincent returns to Holland and there his brother Theo advises him to become an artist. He develops his skills surprisingly fast. First, he spends most of his time making drawings, but when he arrives in the province of Brabant (Holland) he starts to work with paint. This is where Van Gogh paints his famous painting The potato eaters. The need to attend art classes makes the artist move to Antwerp (Belgium) in 1885.
In 1886 Vincent leaves Antwerp to live with his brother Theo in Paris(France). This is where he becomes familiar with the light and colorful work of impressionists and post-impressionists. Van Gogh starts to work with similar colors and develops his own style.
After living in Paris for a couple of years, Van Gogh escapes the rush and busy life in Paris in 1888 and moved to Arles (South of France), where the climate is warm.
Van Gogh rents the now-famous Yellow House in Arles to start an artists’ community. After two months his friend Paul Gauguin joins him in the Yellow House. Van Gogh and Gauguin have a remarkable friendship. They share each other’s poorness, happiness, sadness, and frustrations. The befriended artists produce a lot of paintings together. Vincent paints the now world-famous painting of The Sunflowers for his friend Gauguin.
Unfortunately, Van Gogh starts to become ill, he experiences a psychotic episode in which he threatens Gauguin with a razor and then cuts off a piece of his own ear. In the next few months, Van Gogh is hospitalized in Arles and Saint-Rémy. During his stay in these psychiatric hospitals, he continues to paint.
In 1890 Van Gogh leaves the hospital and moves to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris. He works hard there, he produces some of his best paintings, but he feels unsuccessful. On July 27, 1890, Van Gogh shoots himself in the chest. Two days later he dies from his injuries. Vincent van Gogh is buried in Auvers. Click here to read more about Vincent’s final days and the tragic story of his death.
Van Gogh produced more than 2,000 works of art (around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches) during the last ten years of his life. A large collection of his work can be found in museums in The Netherlands. The rest of his work is divided among a large number of private collections and museums around the world. A selection of his work is shown under Paintings.
At the section Painting Locations you can find a map of all Van Gogh paintings around the world. Where they have been painted by Van Gogh and where they’re located at the moment.