Vincent van Gogh Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Vincent Willem van Gogh
Date of Birth: March 30, 1853
Place of Birth: Zundert, Netherlands
Died: July 29, 1890
Place of Death: Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Classification: Artists & Entertainers

20 year old Vincent Van Gogh, January 1873, photographed by J.M.W. de Louw, Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent Van Gogh Foundation)

Short Biography of Vincent van Gogh

Although he did battle depression and mental disease in his later years, Vincent van Gogh became one of the most renowned artists of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Known as the ‘Mad Artist,’ he was plagued with failures and rejections early in his life that scarred him deeply – something that might have inspired his most prolific works later in life.

As a young man, Vincent was exposed to religion, which would cause him to search for God by helping the poor. He believed he should live in squalid conditions, just as the poor, so he could help them. And, even though he failed no less than two times to enter into theological studies, he was then placed as a missionary in a small Belgium Province, where he was sent away for his misrepresentation of a priest.

Vincent had many brothers, three of which became art dealers. One of these brothers, named Theo, would help him in rise out of his depression by offering him alternatives to regular work and by giving him money to help him survive. Theo would help him study basic art so that Van Gogh would have an outlet for his strained relationships.

After being rejected for marriage by his widowed cousin, Van Gogh then went to her father who in turn rejected him based on his inability to support her financially. After this incident, Vincent spent some time in The Hague, where he continued to paint. He had some support from his cousin, Anton Mauve, but when Van Gogh continued a relationship with a prostitute, Mauve soon stopped corresponding and supporting his artistic pursuits. With this prostitute, it is possible that he fathered a son named Willem, who believed himself thereafter to be the descendent of Vincent.

In 1886, Vincent van Gogh moved to Paris where he worked in a studio. He began to mingle in higher social circles and was given a chance to display his art next to some of the day’s greatest impressionist artists. Within three years, depression, drinking, and smoking had gotten the best of Vincent and he was admitted into an insane asylum, where he continued to paint the asylum’s surroundings. Some of his most famous works done during this period are Starry Night Over the Rhone and Portrait of Dr. Gachet. At the age of 37, due to paranoia and other mental conditions, Van Gogh committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

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