Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh

Although he is almost unknown during his brief lifetime, Vincent Willem van Gogh, was born Mar. 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, the Netherlands and is today probably the most known and appreciated representative of art. His work became an important bridge between the 19th and 20th centuries; and it was particularly influential . Van Gogh clearly showed artistic talent even as a child, but neither he or his family imagined that painting would become his career. Instead, at the age of 16, he went to work for Goupil and Company, an art gallery with which one of his uncles had long been associated with; he was dismissed in 1876. Other false starts included a job in a Dordrecht bookstore during the spring of 1877, theological studies at the University of Amsterdam, and from November 1878 to July 1879, service as a lay missionary in a coal-mining district in Belgium. In 1880, Vincent chose art as a vocation and became dependent on his brother for cash. Indeed, for the next 10 years Theo, who had also gone to work for Goupil, sent an allowance to Vincent, encouraged him to work, and wrote regularly. Vincent's thinking during his short career (approximately 750 paintings, 1,600 drawings, 9 lithographs, and 1 etching) was documented in more than 700 letters that he wrote to Theo and others.

Van Gogh's early years includes all his work from 1879 through 1885. Between August 1879 and November 1885 he worked in Etten, The Hague--where he received some instruction from his cousin, Anton Mauve and in Nuenen, among other places. In Nuenen he painted The Potato Eaters, his first important picture, which underscores his lifelong interest in peasant subjects.

During the winter of 1885-86 Van Gogh studied at the academy in Antwerp, where he was forced to draw from plaster casts and to adopt academic principles that did not suit him. He moved to Paris, where he lived with Theo his brother. The Paris period (March 1886-February 1888) is extremely...
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