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Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

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Vincent Van Gogh was an artist whose work is one of the formative influences of 20th-century art and whose life of suffering has become legendary.

The son of a Dutch parson, he was employed by a firm of art dealers in The Hague, London and Paris. Afterwards he became in turn a schoolmaster in Britain, a missionary to the miners in the Borinage, Belgium, and finally, in 1880, an artist.

In 1886 he left Holland for Paris, where he lived with his brother Theo, one of the few art dealers encouraging such artists as Bernard, Degas, Gauguin, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Impressed by the work and personalities of these progressive painters, Van Gogh conceived the idea of founding a ‘Studio of the South’ at Arles as a working community for progressive artists.

He himself went to Arles early in 1888, but the only other painter he persuaded to join him was Gauguin, who visited him at the end of 1888.

Vincent van Gogh suffered from harrowing bouts of depression and self-doubt thoughout his lifetime. On July 27, 1890 Vincent Van Gogh shot himself. He died two days later. He last words were “the sadness will last forever.”

— Watercolor Masters: Vincent Van Gogh © 2010 Greg Conley —