An overview of the Vincent’s life
Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with where Vincent lived during the various periods of his life. We have therefore prepared the following overview.
30 March 1853
Vincent is born next to the market in Zundert.
1861-1868 Zundert/ Zevenbergen/ Tilburg/ Zundert
From September 1861 Vincent attends the village school in Zundert for a period of one year. Thereafter he receives private education at home. On 1 October 1864 he begins his studies at the private boarding school in Zevenbergen, where he remains until 31 August 1866. Thereafter he attends the Rijks HBS school “Willen II” in Tilburg. His education comes to a halt in March 1868, for unknown reasons, and Vincent returns to the family home in Zundert.
1869-1874 The Hague/Paris/London
On 1 August 1869 Vincent enters service as the youngest employee of the art dealership of his childless “uncle Vincent”, Goupil & Cie in The Hague. Later he works for the same company in Paris and London.
In October 1875 minister Van Gogh (Vincent’s father) accepts an appointment in Etten. The family, including the children still living at home, Wil and Cor, move to the parsonage next to the Dutch Reformed church. Vincent, who now works for Goupil & Cie in Paris, spends Christmas in Etten.
Vincent is dismissed from his position at Goupil & Cie as of 1 April, in part due to his having travelled to Etten for Christmas without permission. He remains in Etten for several weeks and makes two drawings of the parsonage. On 16 April he departs for England, where he first works in Ramsgate as a teacher and then in Isleworth as an assistant minister. He visits Etten at Christmas. Due to his poor physical and mental condition his parents convince him not to return to England.
1877 Dordrecht/ Amsterdam
After a period as a bookkeeper with the booksellers Blusse & van Braam in Dordrecht, Vincent moves to Amsterdam. He is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a minister. His family hesitantly support the idea, on the condition that he follows a proper programme of education. With their support he prepares for the course. Unfortunately it proves to be too difficult.
1878 Amsterdam/ Etten/ Brussels
Vincent stops his studies in July, which is very difficult in the light of all the expectations of those around them. He returns to live with his parents in Etten for a time. Theo has already worked for Goupil & Cie for some time, first in Brussels and then in The Hague. He is doing well. Vincent decides to begin training as a lay preacher in Laken, close to Brussels. He fails, among other reasons due to his sermons being much too complicated. He then decides to work as an evangelist with mineworkers in the Borinage.
Vincent is dismissed due to his lack of sensitivity as regards acceptable relations between the preacher and his people; he lives very simply, which includes going without a normal bed. He continues working on his own but experiences a crisis.
In August Vincent decides to become an artist. He travels to Brussels. There he meets the painter Anthon van Rappard.
1881 Brussels/ Etten
In April 1881 the 28-year-old Vincent moves in with his parents in the parsonage in Etten, where he establishes a studio. Van Rappard comes to stay in the summer. The young widow Kee Vos-Stricker stays for a time in the parsonage with her young son. Vincent falls in love with her and fierily declares this love. It is unrequited. This leads to discord within the family. At the end of November Vincent works for a number of weeks for Mauve, his cousin by marriage. After a serious family argument Vincent leaves for The Hague.
1882 The Hague
In The Hague, Vincent rents a studio on the Schenkweg. His father, minister Van Gogh, accepts a position in the municipality of Nuenen. The family leaves Etten and moves to Nuenen. Vincent adds Sien Hoornik, a pregnant prostitute, and her young daughter to his household. In March Vincent is given his first commission by his uncle Cor. Vincent practises lithography in the hope of finding work as an illustrator.
1883 The Hague/Drenthe
Vincent eventually breaks off the relationship with Sien Hoornik and leaves for Drenthe. He lives in Hoogeveen and Nieuw-Amsterdam. Unfortunately he is unable to send any letters from there and decides after three months to return to his parents in Nuenen.
Vincent makes many studies of farmers and weavers in Nuenen. Van Rappard visits once again. The girl next door, Margot Bergemann, falls in love with him. Marriage is prevented due to pressure from her unmarried sisters. Vincent succeeds in assembling a small group of amateur painters around him. His father dies suddenly at the beginning of 1885, which marks the beginning of his financial dependence on his younger brother Theo. He produces many paintings in Nuenen including “The Potato Eaters”. Unfortunately the minister forbids his parishioners to pose for Vincent, which accelerates his departure.
1886-1887 Antwerp/ Paris
Vincent departs for Antwerp, as he finds Paris a step too far. He attends lessons at the Academy. Within a short space of time he leaves for Paris, where his brother Theo lives. He experiences Impressionism for the first time. Here he mostly paints still lives of flowers, with the aim of developing a more colourful pallet.
In February Vincent leaves for the south of France where he develops a plan for a studio of the south. Gauguin, a painter very much admired by Vincent, visits him. They paint together. After an argument with Gauguin, Vincent injures his ear and ends up in hospital.
1888 Arles/ Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
At the end of April Vincent is admitted to the psychiatric institution in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He produces paintings inspired by the work of Millet, Delacroix and Rembrandt. He asks his mother and sister for old studies.
1890 Arles/ Auvers-sur-Oise
Vincent sells his first painting at an exhibition in Brussels. He decides to settle in Auvers-sur-Oise, close to Paris. He gets to know his doctor, Paul Gachet, an amateur painter, whom Vincent also paints. On 27 July he shoots himself in the chest and dies two days later with Theo at his side. He is 37 years old.
On 25 January 1891 Theo dies as a result of heartbreak. He is the father of a small child. Vincent and Theo are buried in the cemetery in Auvers-sur-Oise.