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9 Things you didn’t know about Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh is certainly one of the best-known artists of all time. He was born in 1853 and died in 1890. Van Gogh paintings are known for their unique style and use of color. The artist also had a particular biography. The artist suffered from severe mental health problems, which became one of the most notorious elements of his life and triggered several tragic moments.


Van Gogh’s artistic career lasted only ten years


Compared to many artists of his time, van Gogh started his artistic career rather late, in 1880 when he was 27 years old, and died in 1890, making his career extremely short. Before becoming an artist, van Gogh’s occupations included: art dealer, bookseller, missionary worker, lay preacher, and language teacher.


Van Gogh created about 900 paintings in these ten years.


Vincent van Gogh was an incredibly prolific artist. The artist created a staggering amount of about 900 paintings during his short career, much more than many artists with much longer lives and careers. Among paintings and drawings, van Gogh pieces can add up to over 2,000 artworks. This number can be even higher since he often reused his canvases and painted over older paintings.


Van Gogh was known around Arles as the “Redheaded Madman.”


The artist’s erratic behavior and personality were not well-seen in the small town of Arles, awarding him the nickname of Redheaded Madman. The townsfolk even signed a petition against him.


Vincent Van Gogh is notoriously an artist who struggled with mental health problems for most of his life. However, many hypotheses diverge on the exact illnesses he suffered from, including bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, sunstroke, Meniere’s disease, epilepsy, and more.


Whichever the exact cause, his mental health problems contributed to van Gogh often being an erratic person and seen as odd to outside eyes.


A portrait he gave as a gift was used to mend a chicken coop.


At one time, van Gogh created an oil portrait as a gift to Dr. Rey Felix, who cared for him after the notorious slashing of his own ear. The doctor hated it, and even worse, his mother would use the painting to patch a hole in a chicken coop. Today, the artwork is estimated to be worth over 50 million dollars.


Auctions of van Gogh’s paintings amass almost 900 million dollars


With an unsuccessful artistic career during his lifetime, van Gogh became, posthumously, one of the most famous and important artists of all time. Today, all van Gogh paintings are highly valuable. In 1990, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” was sold at an auction for 82.5 million dollars, an equivalent of the astounding amount of 163.4 million today. Indeed, by the time of the auction, it was the most expensive artwork ever sold.


The story of Van Gogh selling only one of his paintings might be untrue.


Today viewed as one of the most famous and valued artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh had a hard artistic life. He was appreciated by his painter peers but was not so lucky regarding the art market and general public. A famous bit of van Gogh’s biography is that he only sold one painting during his career. But did you know that this information might be false?


According to the Van Gogh Museum, the artist sold more than a couple of paintings. He sold his first painting to Julien Tanguy, an art dealer from Paris. Later, his brother Theo, who was an art dealer, sold one of van Gogh’s paintings to a gallery in London. Finally, “The Red Vineyard,” thought to be the only of van Gogh pictures sold during the artist’s life, was sold for mere 400 francs. It was bought by Anna Boch, sister of the Impressionist painter and van Gogh’s friend, Eugene Boch.


Vincent van Gogh’s brother Theo was also an artist

Van Gogh’s brother Theo was his most valuable artistic, emotional, and financial supporter. Indeed, the extensive letter exchange between the two brothers is one of the richest sources for van Gogh’s biography.


The total exchange of letters amounts to almost 900 letters.

The last words that Vincent van Gogh wrote before he died were “The sadness will last forever.”


Van Gogh is perhaps the main representative of the “suffering artist” archetype. The artist suffered from psychological problems throughout his life and would ultimately take his life; van Gogh would die two days after a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. His loyal brother Theo was by his side on his deathbed.

Vincent Van Gogh’s brother Theo died six months after Vincent’s death.

Outshined by his brother, Theo van Gogh was also an important figure for fine art in his own right. Theo was also an influential art dealer, being one of the figures responsible for presenting Dutch art to the French public.



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