Vincent van Gogh: Biography
Certain relationships are charged with an intensity of feeling that incinerates the walls we habitually erect between platonic friendship, romantic Van Gogh wrote to Gauguin in early October of . “My God, what a day!. His skepticism about industrial civilization and his faith in places that were not Indeed, the Post-Impressionism of van Gogh, Gauguin and. The relationship between Van Gogh and Gauguin deteriorated throughout December, however. Their heated arguments became more and.
As always, Vincent was undeterred and simply arrived in Paris unannounced in early March. Theo had no choice but to take Vincent in. Van Gogh's Paris period is fascinating in terms of its role in transforming him as an artist.
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Unfortunately, Vincent's two years in Paris is also one of the least documented periods of his life--namely because biographers are so dependent on the letters between Vincent and Theo to supply the facts, and these letters stopped while the brothers lived together in Theo's apartment at 54 rue Lepic in Paris's Montmartre district.
Still, the importance of Vincent's time in Paris is clear. Theo, as an art dealer, had many contacts and Vincent would become familar with the ground-breaking artists in Paris at that time. Van Gogh's two years in Paris were spent visiting some of the early exhibitions of the Impressionists displaying works by Degas, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Seurat and Sisley. There's no question that Van Gogh was influenced by the methods of the Impressionists, but he always remained faithful to his own unique style.
Throughout the two years Van Gogh would incorporate some of the techniques of the Impressionists, but he never let their powerful influence overwhelm him. Vincent enjoyed painting in the environs of Paris throughout His palette began to move away from the darker, traditional colours of his Dutch homeland and would incorporate the more vibrant hues of the Impressionists.
To add further to the complex tapestry of Van Gogh's style, it was at this point in Paris that Vincent became interested in Japanese art.
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Japan had only recently opened its ports to outsiders after centuries of a cultural blockade and, as a result of this long-held isolationism, the western world was fascinated with all things Japanese.
Although Van Gogh only ever produced three copies of Japanese paintings, the Japanese influence on his art would be evident in subtle form throughout the rest of his life.
Vincent's volatile personality put a strain on his relationship with Theo. When Vincent insisted on moving in with Theo, he did so with the hopes that they could better manage their expenses and that Vincent could more easily devote himself to his art. Unfortunately, living with his brother also resulted in a great deal of tension between the two.
In addition, Paris itself was not without its temptations and much of Vincent's two years there was spent in unhealthy extremes: As was often the case throughout his life, poor weather during the winter months left Vincent irritable and depressed.
Never was Vincent more happy then when he was outdoors communing with nature when the weather was at its finest. Whether painting or simply taking long walks, Vincent van Gogh lived for the sun. During the bleak winter months in Paris of Van Gogh became restless.
And the same pattern was re-emerging.
Van Gogh's two years in Paris had a tremendous impact on his ongoing evolution as an artist. But he had acquired what he was seeking and it was time to move on. Never truly happy in large cities, Vincent decided to leave Paris and follow the sun, and his destiny, south. The Studio of the South Vincent van Gogh moved to Arles in early propelled by a number of reasons.
Weary of the frenetic energy of Paris and the long months of winter, Van Gogh sought the warm sun of Provence. Another motivation was Vincent's dream of establishing a kind of artists' commune in Arles where his comrades in Paris would seek refuge and where they would work together and support each other toward a common goal.
Van Gogh took the train from Paris to Arles on 20 February heartened by his dreams for a prosperous future and amused by the passing landscape which he felt looked more and more Japanese the further south he travelled. No doubt Van Gogh was disappointed with Arles during his first few weeks there. In search of the sun, Vincent found Arles unusually cold and dusted with snow.
This must have been discouraging to Vincent who had left everyone he knew behind in order to seek warmth and restoration in the south. Still, the harsh weather was short lived and Vincent began to paint some of the best loved works of his career. Once the temperature had risen, Vincent wasted no time in beginning his labours outdoors. Note the two complimentary works: The drawing was produced in March and the trees and landscape appear somewhat bleak after winter. The painting, however, executed a month later shows the very first spring buds on the trees.
During this time Van Gogh painted a series of blossoming orchards. Vincent was pleased with his productivity and, like the orchards, felt renewed. The months to follow would be happy ones. Vincent wouldn't actually move into the Yellow House until September, in preparation for establishing it as the base for his "Studio of the South. Van Gogh is often perceived today as an irritable and solitary figure.
But he really did enjoy the company of people and did his best during these months to make friends--both for companionship and also to pose as much valued models. Vincent never lost hope in the prospect of establishing the artists' commune and began a campaign to encourage Paul Gauguin to join him in the south.
The prospect appeared unlikely, however, because Gauguin's relocation would require even more financial assistance from Theo who had reached his limit. This financial influx would enable Theo to sponsor Gauguin's move to Arles. Theo was motivated both as a concerned brother and also as a business man. Theo felt that Vincent would be happier and more stable in the company of Gauguin and also Theo had hopes that the paintings he would receive from Gauguin, in exchange for his support, would turn a profit.
Unlike Vincent, Paul Gauguin was beginning to see a small degree of success from his works. Despite the improved state of Theo's financial affairs, Vincent nevertheless remained true to form and spent a disproportionate amount of his money on art supplies instead of the basic necessities of life.
Malnourished and overworked, Van Gogh's health declined early October, but he was heartened upon receiving confirmation that Gauguin would join him in the south.
Vincent worked hard to prepare the Yellow House in order to make Gauguin feel welcome. Gauguin arrived in Arles by train early on 23 October. The next two months would be pivotal, and disastrous, for both Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.
Initially Van Gogh and Gauguin got on well together, painting on the outskirts of Arles, discussing their art and differing techniques. As the weeks passed, however, the weather deteriorated and the pair found themselves compelled to stay indoors more and more frequently. As always, Vincent's temperament and most likely Gauguin's as well fluctuated to match the weather. Forced to work indoors, Vincent's depression was assuaged, however, when he was encouraged and stimulated by a series of portraits he undertook.
Those paintings, of the Roulin familyremain among his best loved works.
The relationship between Van Gogh and Gauguin deteriorated throughout December, however. Their heated arguments became more and more frequent--"electric" as Vincent would describe them. Relations between the pair declined in tandem with Vincent's state of mental health. On 23 December Vincent van Gogh, in an irrational fit of madness, mutilated the lower portion of his left ear.
He severed the lobe with a razor, wrapped it in cloth and then took it to a brothel and presented it to one of the women there.Loving Vincent (Gauguin would be the master) 2
Vincent then staggered back to the Yellow House where he collapsed. After sending a telegram to Theo, Gauguin left immediately for Paris, choosing not to visit Van Gogh in the hospital. Van Gogh and Gauguin would later correspond from time to time, but would never meet in person again. During his time in the hospital, Vincent was under the care of Dr. The week following the ear mutilation was critical for Van Gogh--both mentally and physically.
He had suffered a great deal of blood loss and continued to suffer serious attacks in which he was incapacitated.
Theo, who had rushed down from Paris, was sure that Vincent would die, but by the end of December and the early days of January, Vincent made a nearly full recovery. The first weeks of would not be easy for Vincent van Gogh. After his recovery, Vincent returned to his Yellow House, but continued to visit Dr.
Rey for examinations and to have his head dressings changed. Vincent was encouraged by his progress after the breakdown, but his money problems continued and he felt particularly depressed when his close friend, Joseph Roulindecided to accept a better paying position and move with his family to Marseilles. Roulin had been a dear and faithful friend to Vincent for most of his time in Arles.
Vincent was quite productive in terms of his art throughout January and early February, producing some of his best known works such as La Berceuse and Sunflowers. On 7 February, however, Vincent suffered another attack in which he imagined himself being poisoned. Van Gogh was kept in the hospital for ten days, but returned once again to the Yellow House, provisionally: Vincent remained in the hospital for the next six weeks, but was allowed to leave on supervised outings--in order to paint and to put his possessions into storage.
It was a productive, but emotionally discouraging time for Van Gogh. As was the case a year before, Van Gogh returned to painting the blossoming orchards around Arles. Van Gogh left Arles on 8 May. Confinement Upon arrival at the asylum, Van Gogh was placed in the care of Dr.
After examining Vincent and reviewing the case, Dr. Peyron was convinced that his patient was suffering from a type of epilepsy--a diagnosis that remains among the most likely possibilities, even today. The asylum was by no means a "snake pit," but Van Gogh was disheartened by the cries of the other residents and the bad food.
He found it depressing that the patients had nothing to do all day--no stimulation of any kind. Part of Van Gogh's treatment included "hydro-therapy", a frequent immersion in a large tub of water.
While this "therapy" was certainly not cruel in any way, neither was it in the least beneficial in terms of helping to restore Vincent's mental health. As the weeks passed, Vincent's mental well-being remained stable and he was allowed to resume painting.
The staff was encouraged by Van Gogh's progress or, at least, at his not suffering any additional attacks and in mid-June Van Gogh produced his best known work: Van Gogh's relatively tranquil state of mind didn't last, however, and he was incapacitated by another attack in mid-July. During this attack Vincent tried to ingest his own paints and for that reason he was confined and not given access to his materials.
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The exhibition Van Gogh and Gauguin: And yet, while Van Gogh's two years in Provence are the most mythicised in any artist's life, the two years, and more, during which he lived in the UK are barely remembered.
He worked there untiland although he started out with the highest hopes, it was here that the protestant clergyman's son started to go off the rails.
Inhaving been dismissed from his job, he returned to England with a wild project that was the beginning of his difficult quest for purpose in life: But Van Gogh's debt to this landscape is less well known. In the spring of he was working in Ramsgate as an assistant teacher at a boys' boarding school. Ramsgate is poised on top of the cliffs, with a wide, dramatic vista of the sea. In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh describes a spring storm there: On the horizon a streak of light, and above it immensely large dark grey clouds, from which one could see the rain coming down in slanting streaks.
The wind blew the dust from the little white path among the rocks into the sea and shook the hawthorn bushes in bloom and the wallflowers that grow on the rocks. Van Gogh was never just a painter of landscape and nature, never just a celebrant of colour, an apostle of light.
At the end of his life, he wrote blistering letters to his avant-garde friends, denouncing them for painting what were tantamount to abstract canvases.
Emile Bernard, who along with Gauguin was Van Gogh's closest artistically, came in for a scorching denunciation for making abstract art for art's sake. In the years he spent teaching himself to be an artist, Van Gogh drew and painted the backbreaking realities of rural life in the Netherlands. But it is wrong to think that when he travelled to Paris in and encountered impressionism, he simply abandoned his realist mode. Van Gogh's unique, tough beauty lies in his distillation in every brushstroke of the most deeply felt ideas about God, society and the individual.
His paintings are animated by thought. And the ideas that never left him were formed partly in the UK, by English literature and above all by the spectacle of the London poor. Working as an art dealer in London was a socially ambiguous experience for Van Gogh. Based in offices at 17 Southampton Street, between the Strand and Covent Garden, he saw the glamour and squalor of the capital of the British empire. Although we see an immaculate reconstruction of Vincent's bedroom in the Yellow House at Arles — based on the famous painting of it — we don't see the leading artist of the day whom he begged, successfully, to come and live there as putative leader of the artists' colony the Studio of the South.
It's not so long since he was accused of cutting off Van Gogh's ear with his fencing sword - a nonsensical claim that can be dismissed by any reader of Van Gogh's accounts of his self-harm. Now here he is, written out of history, effaced from time, by the makers of Doctor Who. One reason for not recreating him in Doctor Who may have been that Anthony Quinn made a defining portrayal of the artist in Lust for Lifeas a coarse bully, a man who has no real sympathy for Vincent's soul searching.
I think Gauguin is a great artist. I find his paintings utterly arresting. I also find his memoir, Noa Noaa work of literature by an artist that deserves to be much more widely read. I am a fan, and I will be making several visits to the Tate Modern show — yet I can't picture him as a character without seeing Anthony Quinn bullying a befuddled Kirk Douglas.