Vincent van Gogh

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Van Gogh, Vincent

(văn gō, Dutch vĭnsĕnt` vän khôkh), 1853–90, postimpressionist painter, b. the Netherlands. Van Gogh's works are perhaps better known generally than those of any other painter. His brief, turbulent, and tragic life is thought to epitomize the mad genius legend.

During his lifetime, Van Gogh's work was represented in two very small exhibitions and two larger ones. Only one of Van Gogh's paintings was sold while he lived. The great majority of the works by which he is remembered were produced in 29 months of frenzied activity and intermittent bouts with epileptoid seizures and profound despair that finally ended in suicide. In his grim struggle Vincent had one constant ally and support, his younger brother Théo, to whom he wrote revealing and extraordinarily beautiful letters detailing his conflicts and aspirations. As a youth Van Gogh worked for a picture dealer, antagonizing customers until he was dismissed. Compulsively humanitarian, he tried to preach to oppressed mining families and was jeered at. His difficult, contradictory personality was rejected by the women he fell in love with, and his few friendships usually ended in bitter arguments.

Ten years before his death Van Gogh decided to be a painter, fully conscious of the sacrifices this decision would require of him. His early work, the Dutch period of 1880–85, consists of dark greenish-brown, heavily painted studies of peasants and miners, e.g., The Potato Eaters (1885; Van Gogh Mus., Amsterdam). He copied the work of Millet, whose idealization of the rural poor he admired. In 1886 he joined Théo in Paris, where he met the foremost French painters of the postimpressionist period. The kindly Pissarro convinced him to adopt a colorful palette and thereby made a tremendously significant contribution to Van Gogh's art. His painting Père Tanguy (1887; Niarchos Coll., Paris) was the first complete and successful work in his new colors. Impressed by the theories of Seurat and Signac, Van Gogh briefly adopted a pointillist style.

In 1888, in ill health and longing for release from Paris and what he felt was his imposition upon Théo's life, he took a house at Arles. At Arles he was joined by Gauguin for a brief period fraught with tension, during which he mutilated his left ear in the course of his first attack of dementia. His paintings from this period include the incomparable series of sunflowers (1888; one version: National Gall., London); The Night Café (Yale Univ.); and The Public Gardens in Arles (Phillips Coll., Washington, D.C.). During his illness he was confined first to the Arles Hospital, then to the asylum at Saint-Rémy, where, in 1889, he painted the swirling, climactic Starry Night (Mus. of Modern Art, New York City).

Van Gogh's last three months were spent in Auvers near Pissarro, painting the postman Roulin and the sympathetic, eccentric Dr. Gachet, a physician and collector who watched over him. Vincent's consciousness of his burden upon Théo, by then married and a father, increased. His work tempo was pushed to the limit; one of his last paintings, Wheat Field With Crows (Van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam), projected ominous overtones of distress. He despaired and shot himself, dying two days later in the arms of his brother. Théo died shortly thereafter.


See his works ed. by J. B. de la Faille (rev. ed. 1970); his Complete Letters (tr. 1958) and Vincent van Gogh: The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition (ed. by L. Jansen et al., 6 vol., 2010); see biographies by D. Sweetman (1990) and S. Naifeh and G. W. Smith (2011); studies by J. Leymarie (1968), M. E. Tralbaut (1969), R. J. Philpott (1984), and R. Pickvance (1984); L. Jansen et al., The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters (museum catalog, 2010).

Gogh, Vincent Van:

see Van Gogh, VincentVan Gogh, Vincent
, 1853–90, postimpressionist painter, b. the Netherlands. Van Gogh's works are perhaps better known generally than those of any other painter. His brief, turbulent, and tragic life is thought to epitomize the mad genius legend.
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References in periodicals archive ?
To date, Van Gogh has donated more than $100,000 in financial, as well as product, donations to the True Colors Fund.
Munch recognised in Van Gogh a shared desire to represent life through an intense subjectivity, 'through the chambers of the eye --the mind--the nerves--the heart': the show proposes that Munch may have seen as many as 100 works by Van Gogh before 1900.
Added AkzoNobel CEO Ton Buchner: "We attach great value to our partnership with the Van Gogh Museum.
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Nine ground-breaking 3D replicas of the artist's most famous workings have been given a twenty first century twist by art historians and museum experts from The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Mostly self-taught, Van Gogh first learned how to draw by studying and copying the work of master artists and was inspired by a new style of art--impressionism.
The JV planned to develop the project as a tieback to the existing subsea infrastructure of the Van Gogh oil field in early 2011.
Van Gogh - who died in 1890 - wrote a letter in 1888 saying he had just painted a landscape of oaks, a distant ruin and a sunset but did not rate it.
Van Gogh Museum director Axel Ruger looks at Sunset at Montmajour after unveiling the painting by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh at the museum in Amsterdam
Sunset at Montmajour", which shows twisted holly oaks and a distant ruin bathed in the light of the setting sun, was painted in 1888 when Van Gogh was living in Arles, in the south of France.
Experts have confirmed the painting, a landscape capturing verdant countryside against a blue sky, is a Van Gogh original after forensic examination of its styles and materials, as well as a letter in which Van Gogh described the piece in detail.
London, Aug 10 ( ANI ): Vincent van Gogh may not have committed suicide as largely believed, but may have been killed by a 16-year-old schoolboy, a new book suggests.