Although Vincent van Gogh eventually would become the most recognizable name in nineteenth century art, he didn't always seem destined for life as a painter. Indeed, it wasn't until the age of 27 when, after brief sojourns into different professions -- including those of art dealer, teacher, and lay minister -- van Gogh devoted himself to painting.
Vincent quickly developed his own style, learning by studying the Impressionists and Japanese art. In 1885 Vincent moved to his brother Theo's apartment in Paris, where he started building a career as a painter. But he earned little notice in the capital city, and, out of frustration, left Paris in 1887 for Arles, in the south of France, where he hoped to establish a "studio of the south." In Arles van Gogh moved into the Yellow House, where he worked prodigiously and for a while hosted his friend and mentor Paul Gauguin.
Sadly, Vincent van Gogh's vision of an artist community in Arles never came to be. Gauguin left after a disagreement, and Vincent's bouts with depression and epilepsy -- during which Vincent famously sliced his own ear -- forced van Gogh into a psychiatric asylum in nearby Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. His dream of an artist community in Arles dashed, van Gogh left the asylum in 1890 and boarded a train for Auvers-sur-Oise, where, still crippled by epileptic fits and increasing depression, he worked furiously and brilliantly until late July, when he committed suicide.
Vincent van Gogh's career as a painter was brief but powerful, and he left an oeuvre that reflected his passion and desire to provide a balm for the troubled modern condition. As he famously wrote to his brother Theo: "I want to do drawings which touch some people." In van Gogh's brilliant use of color and innovative brush strokes, he managed to convey the empathy, emotion, and love for humanity that he so often craved and failed to find in his own short life.
Learn about the magnificent career of Vincent van Gogh:
Vincent van Gogh Biography: It's an understatement to say that the artist led an incredible life. Learn about the forces that caused him to create the stunning pieces of art that he did.
Early Paintings by Vincent van Gogh: Vincent van Gogh didn't begin painting in earnest until the age of 27, but he immediately showed an immense talent and vision that would come to fruition later in his career. In this section you'll discover some of the works that Vincent created as a young painter.
Vincent van Gogh's Paintings from Paris: At his brother Theo's encouragement, Vincent van Gogh moved to Paris in 1885, where he found himself in the center of the art world -- and also discovered Impressionism and Japanese art, both of which would influence his later work. Learn about the paintings Vincent worked on during this educational period.
Vincent van Gogh's Paintings from Arles: In February of 1888, seeking inspiration and hoping to establish a community of like-minded artists, Vincent van Gogh moved to Arles, in the south of France. Read this article to learn about the paintings Vincent van Gogh completed during this time.
Vincent van Gogh's Paintings from the Yellow House: After living in Arles for several months, Vincent van Gogh leased several rooms in a brightly colored house in town, which he called the Yellow House, and where he hoped to create a "studio of the south." Here you can find out about Vincent van Gogh's paintings from the Yellow House.
Vincent van Gogh's Paintings from Saint-Rémy: Crippling bouts with epilepsy and depression forced Vincent van Gogh into a mental asylum in Saint-Rémy. While recuperating, van Gogh continued to be devoted to his art. Learn about the paintings Vincent van Gogh made during his time in the hospital, which include his most famous painting, The Starry Night.
Vincent van Gogh's Final Paintings: Thinking that a change would do him good, Vincent van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise in May of 1890. Vincent worked prolifically, completing nearly 80 paintings in two months. Tragically, van Gogh committed suicide in July of that year, leaving behind canvases that would become some of the most famous paintings in the world. Learn about the paintings this master created in his final months.
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