Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) was a painter associated with the Post-Impressionist movement, and best known for his portraits and depictions of cypresses and wheat fields. Before becoming a painter, Van Gogh worked as an apprentice at his uncle’s art dealership, where he learned about the Old Masters and Contemporary painting, and as a lay preacher in Belgium. At the age of 27, Van Gogh decided to devote himself to painting, and traveled to the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels to study anatomy and physiognomy. He collected and copied prints, especially those by Jean François Millet (French, 1814–1875), Honoré Daumier (French, 1808–1879), Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), and Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669).

Van Gogh was also inspired by the linearity, flat areas of color, and flattened perspective found in Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts. His first major work, The Potato Eaters (1885), reflects his interest in painting peasants after the manner of Jules Breton (French, 1827-1906). Van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886, and became acquainted with the work of Impressionist painters through his brother Theo, who organized exhibitions of these artists. Van Gogh's series of flower still lifes show the influence of Georges Seurat's (French, 1859-1891) Pointillist technique, which prompted him to work in a lighter palette and use more rhythmical, expressive brushwork. In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles in the south of France and made a series of pen-and-ink drawings, portraits of locals, and sunflowers, which he hoped would convince Paul Gauguin (French, 1849–1903) to join him. One of Van Gogh's most famous works, Starry Night (1889), exemplifies his unique expressionistic style. Today, his work is held in several permanent collections, including the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Timeline

1878–1800
Works as an evangelist in Borinage, a poor mining district in Belgium
1853
Born in Groot Zundert, The Netherlands
1877
Begins religious studies
1888–1890
Suffers first mental breakdown and is confined in mental hospitals in Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise
1890
Shoots himself July 27th
1890
Died July 29th in Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Exhibitions

2008–2009
Sept. 21 - Jan. 5, "Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night", Museum of Modern Art, New York
2005
Oct. 18 - Dec. 31, "Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings", Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
1998–1999
Oct. 4 - Jan. 3, "Van Gogh's Van Goghs", National Gallery, US
1990
Vincent van Gogh, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1935
Vincent van Gogh, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1929
Dutch Art, Royal Academy London, England
1926
Tate Gallery London, England
1923
Vincent van Gogh, Leicester Galleries London, England
1909
Impressionist Paintings, New Gallery London, England