van Gogh

  • Event

  • Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, 1887

    Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, 1887

  • Born on 30 March in the Brabant village of Zundert (The Netherlands), to Reverend Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus.

  • Brother, Theo, with whom Vincent had extensive written correspondence during his life, is born.

  • Vincent transfers from the Zundert village school to a Zevenbergen boarding school, where he completes his elementary schooling.

  • Attends the Tilburg secondary school, but quits halfway through his second academic year, never going back to formal studies.

  • Begins apprenticeship at the art dealership Goupil & Cie (The Hague).

  • Begins what turns out to be a life-long correspondence with his brother Theo.

  • Sent to the London office of Goupil & Cie. Begins collecting illustrations from The Graphic and Illustrated London News by artists such as Frank Holl, Hubert von Herkomer and Luke Fildes. Starts visiting such prestigious art establishments as the British Museum and the National Gallery

  • Transferred to the Goupil & Cie office in Paris.

  • Discharged from his position at Goupil & Cie. Returns to live in England, where he finds work as assistant teacher in Ramsgate and Isleworth.

  • Returns to the Netherlands. Briefly works in a bookshop in Dordrecht before moving to Amsterdam to begin theological studies to become a minister. Quits his studies after a year due to his insufficient discipline.

  • Moves to the Borinage district (Belgium), where he works as a lay preacher.

  • Dismissed from his post in Borinage.

  • At the suggestion of his brother Theo, he decides to devote himself to art. Toward the end of the year he moves to Brussels to attend the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, where he studies life-drawing, anatomy, and physiognomy. Theo, who had begun working for Goupil’s, begins to support him financially. .

  • Road in Etten, 1881, chalk, pencil, pastel, watercolor

    Road in Etten, 1881, chalk, pencil, pastel, watercolor

  • Moves to his parents’ home in the village of Etten (The Netherlands) in the spring. Continues his studies as an artist by collecting prints and reproductions, which he subsequently draws from. In the winter, following his unrequited love towards his cousin Kee Vos, a widow, and contentious arguments with his father, he moves to The Hague, at that time the nucleus of Dutch painting. This also marks the end of his religious fervor.

  • Receives some instruction on painting in watercolor and oils, as well as other assistance from his cousin-in-law, the Dutch realist painter Anton Mauve (1838-88). Gets his first commission from him. The relationship soon sours, however, likely due in part to van Gogh beginning to live with Clasina Maria “Sien” Hoornik, an abandoned mother from the lower classes who works as an occasional prostitute. Sien and her children serve as the artists’ models during this period.

  • Sien as Sorrow, chalk, 1882

    Sien as Sorrow, chalk, 1882

  • Leaves Sien and moves to the countryside town of Hoogeveen in Drenthe, the northern part of the Netherlands, where he sets to draw and paint landscape pieces, his decision to leave The Hague being, in part, due to his continued desire to be a painter of peasants and the countryside. The unfavorable climate soon compels him to return to live with his parents, by then living in Nuenen, an ideal setting for a “peasant painter”. During this period, he produces some of his first paintings that were intended as finished pieces in their own right, rather than sketches or studies.

  • Event

  • Vincent’s father dies, following which he once again leaves the family home and now moves into his own studio. Paints The Potato Eaters (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum), a work that embodies his years of drawing and studying peasants. In November of this year the artist moves to Antwerp in order to have access to museums and an academy of art where he could study and draw from plaster casts and live models.

  • The Potato Eaters, 1885

    The Potato Eaters, 1885

  • Moves to Paris in February. He shares an apartment with his brother Theo, who is attempting to sell paintings by Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). Van Gogh meets these artists through his brother. Around this time, he also begins collecting and studying Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, which have a notable influence on his own work.
    In Paris, van Gogh begins working in the studio of Fernand Cormon (1845-1924), where he encounters artists such as Émile Bernard (1868-1941) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). And it is during this time that he gets inspiration to start using brighter colors, the themes that interest him change, and he develops his own style of painting.

  • Portrait of van Gogh, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1887

    Portrait of van Gogh, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1887

  • Meets and befriends the painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Late in the year, van Gogh arranges an exhibition of works in a restaurant (Grand-Bouillon Restaurant du Chalet) in Paris’s Montmartre district. The artists exhibited include himself, Bernard, Louis Anquetin (1861-1932), and possibly Toulouse-Lautrec.

  • Gets tired of the frantic Parisian life and moves to Arles, in the region of Provence in southern France. In this area and the surrounding environs, he continues painting and drawing, often returning to motifs of peasant life that he worked on when living in the Netherlands, his style becoming looser and more expressive. It is this year that van Gogh paints Café Terrace At Night, The Yellow House, The Bedroom At Arles and The Starry Night Over The Rhône. In October, Gauguin comes to live and work together with van Gogh in the Yellow House. The arrangement is short-lived, however, as Gauguin leaves Arles following an argument around Christmas time. Van Gogh cuts off his own ear and spends time in the hospital, experiencing his first major episodes of mental illness.

  • The Yellow House, 1888


    Resumes painting after being discharged from the hospital. However, due to serious and continuing problems with his mental health, commits himself to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Asylum in Saint-Rémy. During periods when he is well enough to do so, he continues painting and drawing. The first subject done at the asylum is believed to be Irises. Van Gogh is very productive during this period and completes many pieces, including Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear, Almond Blossom and The Starry Night.

  • Early in the year, six of van Gogh’s paintings are shown in Brussels at a group exhibition of the Belgian artists’ association “Les Vingt”. The critic response is positive, and The Red Vineyard, one of the paintings submitted for the show, is sold.
    In May, Vincent leaves the Saint-Rémy clinic to live in Auvers-sur-Oise. He spends all his time working and produces virtually a piece a day, including Wheatfield With Crows, which is believed to be his last work. However, due to his illness, financial worries and his uncertainty about the future, on July 27, he walks into a wheatfield and shoots himself in the chest. His brother Theo rushes from Paris to Auvers and is with Vincent as he dies in the early morning hours of July 29. According to Theo, van Gogh’s last words are “The sadness will last forever”.

  • A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889; by van Gogh

    A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889; by van Gogh