Vincent van Gogh
1853, Groot-Zundert, Holland –1890, Auvers-sur-Oise
Having previously undertaken a variety of studies and jobs in The Hague and Brussels, van Gogh increasingly focused on the private study of art. Through his brother Theo he got to know the leading Impressionist artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. Under their influence his palette became noticeably brighter, as shown by the paintings he produced from 1888 onwards, following a stay in Arles. Here van Gogh completed almost 200 paintings, over 100 drawings and watercolours; his preferred subjects were orchards, harvest scenes in summer and portraits. The attempt to establish an artists’ cooperative in Arles failed due to violent disagreements with his fellow artist Paul Gauguin, culminating in a dispute whereby the psychologically destabilized van Gogh cut off part of his ear. Shortly after this he admitted himself to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy. On 29 July 1890 van Gogh died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot injuries. He is regarded as one of the major forerunners of modernism. The extensive correspondence he maintained above all with his brother Theo not only reveals a great deal about his artistic reflections and methods, it also gives insight into a deeply troubled soul.