Vincent Van Gogh Timeline

1853 – Vincent Van Gogh is born

Vincent Van Gogh is born on March the 30th in the town of Groot-Zundert, in the Netherlands. His parents are  Anna Cornelia Carbentus and Theodorus van Gogh, who is a church minister. The family is deeply religious and not affluent.

1857 – Theo Van Gogh is Born

His brother Theo is born with whom the artist is very close. Vincent’s mother encourages him to draw. But she is a cold and austere woman after the death of one of her children and this may have had a negative impact on Vincent’s mental health. 

1864 – 1866 – Vincent attends boarding School

He attends a boarding school in Zevenbergen, which he does not like.

1869 – First job

July – Van Gogh is an apprentice art dealer and is employed by the Goupil & Cie in The Hague. He secured this position because of family connections.

1873 – First travel & love

Van Gogh is transferred to London to work in the Goupil & Cie Office. In London, he falls in love, but his marriage proposal is rejected. In general, his time in London was one of the happiest of his life. 

1875 – Van Gogh in Paris

Van Gogh is transferred to Paris, his brother joins Goupil & Cie office in Brussels.  He was later dismissed. The artist disliked the way that art was commercialized. He briefly returns to England and works as a teacher and an assistant to a Methodist preacher. 

1876 – Religion

Returns to his parents in the Netherlands. Becomes increasingly religious. Fails the entrance tests to study theology in Amsterdam and also fails a missionary course in Brussels.

1877- Living with his Uncle

Change in his parents send him to live with an uncle. Van Gogh becomes increasingly religious and at this time has no interest in art. 

1879- Missionary

In January 1879, Van Gogh becomes a missionary at Petit-Wasmes in  Borinage in Belgium.  He gives up his lodgings to a homeless person and lives in a hut. Later he was dismissed by the Church, because of his erratic behavior. 

1880 – Brussels

Van Gogh relocates to Brussels and begins to train with the Dutch artist Willem Roelofs. He begins to paint full-time. His father wanted him to be committed to an asylum.

1881 – Marriage Proposal

Proposes marriage to his second cousin but is again rejected. His relationship with his family becomes increasingly strained. 

1882 – Scandal

Van Gogh lives with the sex-worker Clasina Maria “Sien” Hoornik (1850–1904).  This scandalizes his family. He later abandons 

1883 – Back to Nunen

Desperately lonely returns to Nunen to live with his parents who suspect he is mentally ill. Here he paints a number of somber paintings. 

1884 – Engagement

He may have become engaged to a neighbor who was ten years his senior. When they tried to marry their families disapproved and later. Vincent writes many letters to his brother Theo, and these are seen as masterpieces of Dutch literature. 

1885 – Begins painting peasants

Completes the Potato Eaters- his first mature work as an artist. During his stay in Nunen, he paints 200 pictures. Van Gogh paints many images of peasant life.  The artist comes into conflict with the local priest who forbids his parishioners from sitting for him. Van Gogh later enrolls in the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

1886 – Paris

The artist is expelled or leaves the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Van Gogh moves to Paris and is introduced to the art of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists. He lives with his brother Theo who finds him unbearable. 

1887 –  Post-Impressionism

Completes Summer and Self Portrait with Straw Hat. The development of his style as a post-Impressionist. Vincent moved to lodgings in Asnières, a suburb on the edge of Paris, where he got to know the painters Signac and Gauguin.  Van Gogh’s health was poor from alcohol and smoking. Here he begins to paint landscapes and experiments with color. He adopted elements of the style known as Pointillism.  Vincent has his first exhibition in Paris and his work is well-received by critics. 

 1888 – Arles

Van Gogh moves to Arles to create an artist colony, and this marks the beginning of his period of greatest creativity.  Here he is joined by Gaugin. He drinks absinthe heavily. Van Gogh paints the famous sunflower pieces and begins suffering from mental problems. In September paints Starry Night Over the Rhone and in the same month paints The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night. That October he paints Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles. However, by December of that year, Van Gogh cuts off a portion of his ear which he presents to a young girl. He did this after an argument with Gauguin and later commits himself to a mental asylum in Saint Rémy.

1889 – Saint Rémy

Van Gogh continues to paint in the asylum. He painted studies of the asylum’s interiors, such as the painting The Vestibule of the Asylum. He also completes the Irises, one of his greatest works, and Cypresses. His studies at this time are characterized by swirls. This is best seen in one of his masterpieces such as Starry Night (June 1889). 

1890 – Dr. Paul Gachet

He suffers a relapse but continues to paint and he completes the Almond Blossom. Leaves Saint Rémy and begins to reconnect with his brother Theo. He comes under the care of Dr. Paul Gachet and was recommended by Camille Pissarro. The doctor encourages him to paint. Van Gogh paints a portrait of the medic. Despite his mental condition Van Gogh is at the height of his power. Many of his paintings are on the subject of death. 

Vincent Van Gogh dies of a self-inflicted gunshot and his death was registered as a suicide. He was buried at Auvers-sur-Oise.

1901 – Retrospective

A retrospective of Van Gogh’s work is held, and this enhances the reputation of the artist.  A Van Gogh Museum was opened in Amsterdam in 1972. His paintings can sell for tens of millions.