Why did Van Gogh leave Sien Hoornik?

      14-05-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s relationship with Clasina Maria Hoornik (also called Sien/Christien) was not approved by his family. Van Gogh met Sien as a pregnant prostitute. Vincent used her as a model and he took care of her. He also felt the need to protect her from men that could harm her. Later Sien and her daughter moved in with Vincent. Theo threatened to stop his financial support since Sien was lower class. That never happened, but at his brother's urging, Van Gogh left Sien to paint in Drenthe. Was Van Gogh’s brotherly love stronger that his love for Sien? Was his passion to paint, depending on Theo’s gifts, crucial? Would Starry Night or the Sunflowers never have been painted if Van Gogh’s love for Sien conquered all? We will never know. Today 141 years ago, on 14 May 1882 Vincent van Gogh wrote...

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How did Van Gogh come to express emotions?

      13-03-2023     Comments (0)

Van Gogh’s paintings with bright colors that he made 1888-1890 evoked emotions that are typical for a post-impressionist. But already in Nuenen in 1884 Vincent was figuring out how he came to express something in his art. The feelings expressed in his winter gardens were no coincidence, but the result of thoroughly understanding his subjects. Today 139 years go, on 13 March 1884, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Anthon van Rappard from Nuenen: "For instance, these little winter gardens — you say it yourself, they’re felt — very well, but that’s not a fluke, I drew them repeatedly before these and the feeling wasn’t in them. After that — after those iron-like ones — came these; so too the clumsy and awkward ones. How it comes about that I express something with them is: because the...

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To whom did Van Gogh sell 12 pen drawings in 1882?

      11-03-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was very happy to sell 12 pen drawings to his Uncle Cor or C.M. (Cornelis Marinus van Gogh, 1824–1908). One month later Uncle Cor ordered another 6. Uncle Cor sold books and art on the Keizersgracht 453 in Amsterdam (and before at Leidsestraat 38). Vincent often visited him when he lived in Amsterdam (14 May 1877 - 5 Jul. 1878) before he had decided to become a painter. Today 141 years ago, on 11 March 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "Theo, it’s almost miraculous!!! ..C.M. comes, orders 12 small pen drawings from me, views of The Hague, having seen a few that were finished (Paddemoes. The Geest district – Vleersteeg were finished) for a rijksdaalder apiece, the price set by me. With the promise that if I make them to his liking he’ll order 12 more, but for...

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Why was Van Gogh not a fan of conté crayons?

      04-03-2023     Comments (0)

Conté crayons were invented by Nicolas-Jacques Conté in 1795 to solve the scarcity of graphite. Conté is compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a clay base. But Vincent van Gogh preferred the character of natural chalk. Today 140 years ago, on 4 March 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "If you want to do me a very great favour, send me some pieces of natural chalk by post. That natural chalk has a soul and life — I find something dead in conté. Two violins may look more or less the same on the outside — when they’re played one sometimes turns out to have a beautiful sound that the other doesn’t have. Natural chalk has lots of sound or tone. I would almost say that natural chalk understands what one wants, listens with...

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How did Van Gogh help Gauguin to sell his paintings?

      01-03-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh was often broke and his paintings didn’t sell. Yet he tried to help Gauguin to sell his art. He made sure his brother Theo, an art dealer, understood Gauguin’s bad financial situation. Vincent also wrote John Peter Russell, an artist who inherited a fortune, to see if he was interested in buying Gauguin’s paintings. Today 135 years ago, on or about 1 March 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles, "I’ve had a letter here from Gauguin, who says he’s been ill in bed for a fortnight. That he’s broke, since he’s had to pay off some pressing debts. That he’d like to know if you’ve sold anything for him but that he can’t write to you for fear of bothering you. That he’s under so much pressure to earn a little money he’d be...

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Was Paul Gauguin wealthy?

      28-02-2023     Comments (0)

Gauguin (1848 – 1903) was a very successful businessman in Paris from 1871-1882. Trading stocks and art made him wealthy, but in 1882 tides turned when the stock market crashed. Gauguin decided to become a full-time painter, but in the meantime the demand for art had decreased. His hopes were on Vincent van Gogh’s brother Theo to introduce him to his wealthy clients. Theo van Gogh had become director of Goupil & Cie, a prominent art dealership based in Paris. Today 135 years ago, on 29 February 1888, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Pont-Aven: "I have left to work in Brittany (always the rage to paint), and I had high hopes of having funds for that. The little I’ve sold went to pay off some pressing debts, and in a month I’m going to find myself with nothing. Zero is a negative...

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Where did Van Gogh live in Paris?

      28-02-2023     Comments (0)

Short of money Vincent van Gogh left Antwerp without paying his bills there. He moved in with his brother at Rue Victor Masse 25 in Paris. And in June 1886 they moved to Rue Lepic 54. Today 137 years ago, on 28 February 1886, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Paris: "My dear Theo, Don’t be cross with me that I’ve come all of a sudden. I’ve thought about it so much and I think we’ll save time this way. Will be at the Louvre from midday, or earlier if you like. A reply, please, to let me know when you could come to the Salle Carrée." View from Theo's Apartment at Rue Lepic 54 Paris, 1887 Oil on canvas 45,9 x 38,1 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam You may also like to read: When did Van Gogh move to Paris? FREE Van Gogh e-book Van Gogh's 'View...

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Why did Van Gogh want to go to Marseille?

      27-02-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh not only traveled to the South of France in search for warm light and bright colors. He also wanted to organise an exhibition in Marseille showing the world the impressionists and his own generation of post-impressionists. Today 135 years ago, on 27 February 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Arles: "Tersteeg and the London manager would organize the permanent exhibition of the Impressionists in London — you would have the one in Paris and I would start it up in Marseille." Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet Le Havre, 1872 Oil on canvas 48 × 63 cm Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris You may also like to read: Why is Van Gogh a post-impressionist? FREE Van Gogh e-book Monet's ' Impression, Sunrise ' Your daily dose of Van...

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Was Van Gogh monogamous?

      23-02-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh believed in monogamy. In 1883 both Vincent and Theo had girlfriends with a troubled past: Sien (Hoornik) and Marie. When their women were ill at the same time Vincent encouraged Theo to care for his patient and stay loyal to her. "When one is faced by a patient who is ill in both body and soul.. the very best and most effective medicine is still love and a home." Today 140 years ago, on 23 February 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "There are many loves in one love.. if you want variety you should remain faithful. And if you want to see many women you should confine yourself to one and the same." Sien Peeling Potatoes The Hague, 1883 Black chalk 61,3 x 39,4 cm Kunstmuseum The Hague You may also like to read: What kind of woman was Vincent van Gogh...

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Was Van Gogh a gambler?

      18-02-2023     Comments (0)

No, Vincent van Gogh was 'not in the least bit interested in the lottery’ despite often being broke. Perhaps Theo's financial support never made Vincent even consider stepping in line for a lottery ticket. 'The curiosity and delusion about the lottery seem more or less childish to us, but it becomes serious when one thinks about the other side: misery and forlorn attempts by these poor souls to be saved, so they think, by buying a lottery ticket, paid for with pennies saved by going without food.' Today 137 years ago, on 18 February 1886, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Antwerp: "My dear Theo, It’s at the moment when my money has entirely gone — entirely — that I write to you again. If you can send anything, even if it were five francs, don’t neglect to do it; there are...

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Was Vincent van Gogh vain?

      06-02-2023     Comments (0)

Van Gogh wasn’t particularly vain. He was aware that he was 'starting to look worse and worse’ when his teeth were breaking off one after another in 1886. The dental problems causing him pain and eating problems were a bigger worry to him than his looks though. Van Gogh’s self-portraits are not a sign of vanity either. He painted these to save money on models. Today 137 years ago, on 6 February 1886, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Antwerp: "I also still have two more teeth to be filled, then my upper jaw, which was most affected, will be all right again. ...Some years of those 10 years that I appear to have spent in prison will disappear as a result. Because bad teeth, which one so seldom sees any more as it’s so easy to get them put right, since bad teeth give a physiognomy a sort of...

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Why did Van Gogh join drawing clubs in Antwerp?

      04-02-2023     Comments (0)

To save money on models, Vincent van Gogh decided to become a member of two drawing clubs in Antwerp. By paying a modest subscription fee, club members had the opportunity to attend evening sessions and draw from both nude and clothed models. These informal drawing clubs, often referred to as sketching clubs, were typically organized by advanced students from the senior classes at the Antwerp Academy. Today 137 years ago, on 4 February 1886, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Antwerp: "What we have to do and what is largely lacking — is this. Paying the models ourselves is too much; as long as one doesn’t have enough money, one must take advantage of the opportunities at the studios, like Verlat, like Cormon. And one must be in the artists’ world and work at clubs where one shares the cost of the...

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Did Van Gogh ever return to Arles?

      02-02-2023     Comments (0)

Yes Vincent van Gogh visited his good friends Joseph Ginoux and his wife Marie on 18 or 19 January 1890. Mrs Ginoux was suffering from nervous attacks and menopausal complaints. And Vincent wanted to make another trip to them from the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 30 km South to Arles. Today 133 years ago, on 2 February 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Joseph Ginoux from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: "My dear Mr Ginoux, Certainly I would prefer to come in person to ask you how your patient is, just as I had also hoped to come back to see you around now. But having been indisposed myself this last week, I must ask you for news of her by letter. Please don’t fail to let me know how she is – for would be worried if I didn’t have news from you by return of post....

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What did critics think of Van Gogh in 1890?

      29-01-2023     Comments (0)

In his article titled 'The Isolated Ones,’ art critic Albert Aurier (1865 - 1892) expressed admiration for Van Gogh's unconventional, passionate, and vibrant artistic creations and described Van Gogh as a deserving heir to the Dutch masters of the seventeenth century. Aurier also argued that Van Gogh's true essence could never be fully comprehended because his art was ‘too simple and at the same time too subtle for the contemporary bourgeois mind’. The recognition as an artist brought immense joy not just to Vincent himself but also to his family. Today 133 years ago, on 29 January 1890, Jo van Gogh-Bonger wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Paris: "This morning Theo brought in the article in the Mercure, and after we’d read it Wil...

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Why did Van Gogh want to get married?

      26-01-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh’s hyperfocus on his artistic development would balance well with some intimacy now and then. It helped maintain his mental well-being. In The Hague, Van Gogh lived with Sien Hoornik (1850-1904), a seamstress who also worked as a prostitute. However, his family did not approve of this relationship, and in 1883, his brother Theo convinced Vincent to separate from Sien and go to Drenthe to focus on his painting. Today 141 years ago, on 26 January 1882, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from The Hague: "And I tell you frankly that I definitely think you mustn’t be embarrassed about going to a girl now and then, if you know one you can trust and you can feel something for, of which there are many in fact. Because for someone whose life is all hard work and...

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Why was Vincent van Gogh worried about Theo’s business?

      23-01-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent’s brother Theo was a successful art dealer in Paris. Despite economic recession since 1873, Theo’s business in high-end works by well-established artists had been going fine. But would prices keep going up? Vincent ‘did not expect a future of success, but a future of struggle.’ It would be beyond Van Gogh’s comprehension that his relatively unknown painting 'Huts surrounded by Olive Trees and Cypresses’ was auctioned for $71.4 million USD in 2021. Today 138 years ago, on 23 January 1885, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Nuenen: "Prices have risen to their present heights in a very short time, relatively speaking — in, let’s say, 40 years or so at most. And would it need more time than that to roll down the mountain again? As a rule, it’s easier and...

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What did Van Gogh trade his art for?

      18-01-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh would sometimes trade his paintings for food and art supplies. And in 1883 Van Gogh not only paid 21 guilders for 21 volumes of The Graphic. As part of the deal he also made 4 portraits of the Jewish bookseller Jozef Blok’s parents to get 1870-1880 editions of this British weekly illustrated newspaper. 21 guilders was nearly 7 times Vincent’s weekly rent at that time. Today 140 years ago, on 18 January 1883, Vincent van Gogh wrote to Anthon van Rappard from The Hague: "I had to go to some trouble to get The Graphic. For example, I had to do two portraits (two of each!) of the father and mother of the Jew I bought them from.” Portrait of Jozef Blok The Hague, 1883 Pencil, watercolour, lithographic crayon, on paper...

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Which secret did Van Gogh learn from Gauguin?

      16-01-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent van Gogh learned a lot from Paul Gauguin by discussing art and painting techniques. But Gauguin also taught Van Gogh a practical trick to reline his paintings. (Re)lining is the process of retouching paintings to strengthen, flatten or consolidate oil on canvas. Today 134 years ago, on about 16 January 1889, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Paris: "The grape harvests are totally covered in scales as a result of the white which has separated. I’ve stuck all of it back down using a process shown to me by the reliner. If I tell you about it it’s because the thing is easy to do and can be very good for those of your canvases that need retouching – you stick newspapers on your canvas with flour paste. Once dry, you put your canvas on a smooth board and with very...

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Did Vincent van Gogh sell his paintings to his brother?

      15-01-2023     Comments (0)

Vincent was very grateful to his brother for his financial support. Already in 1884 he didn’t feel comfortable with such generosity though. So he suggested to Theo, a successful art dealer, to have his paintings and keep the sales. The monthly donations Vincent received could then be considered as earnings. Unfortunately Theo wasn’t able to sell one of Vincent’s paintings until 1890 when Anna Boch bought 'The Red Vineyard’. Today 139 years ago, on about 15 January 1884, Vincent van Gogh to Theo from Nuenen: "Now I have a proposal to make for the future. Let me send you my work and you take what you want from it, but I insist that I may consider the money I would receive from you after March as money I’ve earned. And I don’t mind at all if...

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Did Theo give Vincent van Gogh's art away?

      11-01-2023     Comments (0)

Actually he did once. But of course not to just anybody. Soon after Paul Gauguin clashed with Vincent in Arles, Theo gave Vincent’s lithograph of The Potato Eaters to Gauguin. Gauguin already possessed Vincent’s 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin’ that he swapped for Gauguin’s 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Vincent van Gogh' Today 134 years ago, on about 11 January 1889, Paul Gauguin wrote to Vincent van Gogh from Paris: "Your brother gave me a lithographed reproduction of an old painting of yours, Dutch – very interesting as regards colour in the drawing. In my studio next to your portrait.” The Potato Eaters Nuenen, 1885 Lithograph 31,2 x 39,6 cm Van Gogh Museum,...

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